16 January 2021, Saturday, 9:13
Sim Sim, Charter 97!
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Today is Day of Solidarity: “No to political abductions!”

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A rally of protest urging to stop abductions of oppositionists in Belarus will be held on October Square in Minsk at 6 p.m.

Young leaders who were subjected to abductions in 2009 addressed to Belarusians a call to join the rally of Solidarity in Minsk. They are “European Belarus” coordinator Yauhen Afnagel, “Young Front” leaders Zmitser Dashkevich and Nasta Palazhanka, “European Belarus” activist Uladzimir Lemesh. Oppositionists call upon Belarusian citizens to show solidarity and not allow the Belarusian authorities to continue crackdown.

We remind that recently cases of people’s abductions became more frequent in Belarus. On December 5 “Young Front” leader Zmitser Dashkevich was abducted. Unknown persons kept him in a car for 5.5 hours and threw him away 70 kilometres outside Minsk. On December 6 “European Belarus” activist Yauhen Afnagel was seized. He was taken 20 kilometres away from Minsk. A week before the unknown took “European Belarus” activist Uladzimir Lemesh away from the city and with threats and battery demanded to stop political activities. 6 young activists were abducted this year in this manner. Oppositionists suppose abductions had been organized by special services.

Participants of the solidarity rally on December 16 which would be held not only in Minsk but in many other cities of Belarus and abroad, are set to remind that prisoners of conscience are still remaining in Belarusian prisons. They are Vaukavysk businessmen Mikalai Autukhovich and Uladzimir Asipenka, arrested in February this year, and “Young Front” activist Artsyom Dubski.

A political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich earlier was also persecuted for his struggle for businessmen’s rights. According to human rights activists, today he is unfoundedly charged with grave crimes and he is to stand a trial behind the closed doors. Protesting against illegal arrest, Autukhovich was on hunger strike in prison for more than 90 days, which undermined his health seriously.

Artsyom Dubski, “Young Front” activist, in July was sentenced to a year of imprisonment in a colony for violation of rules of serving the sentence under the well-known Case of Fourteen. Fourteen young activists were sentenced to restriction or deprivation of liberty for participation in protest rallies of businessmen.

The cases relating disappearances of opposition leaders Viktar Hanchar, Yury Zakharanka, Anatol Krasouski and a journalist Zmitser Zavadski in 1999-2000 are still not investigated in Belarus. The world community suspects high-ranking Belarusian officials close to Alyaksandr Lukashenka are responsible for these abductions.