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Amnesty International recognized Yury Rubtsou prisoner of conscience

Amnesty International recognized Yury Rubtsou prisoner of conscience
Yury Rubtsou
Photo: svaboda.org

A human rights organisation Amnesty International has launched a campaign in support of the political prisoner.

Amnesty International has recognized Yury Rubtsou a prisoner of conscience, and views the verdict to him as a part of the long-term campaign of crackdown on civil society activists by the Belarusian authorities.

The organisation informed about that on June 10, announcing an urgent campaign for his release. Amnesty International calls upon the international community to write an address to Lukashenka and the Prosecutor General of Belarus, at the same time noting that Yury Rubtsou is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for implementing his right for freedom of expression of opinions, and to demand his immediate and unconditional release from the Belarusian authorities, as well as ending of the prosecution and intimidation of civil society activists, and remind them about their commitments in the framework of the international law to respect and defend the right for freedom of expression, peaceful rallies and associations.

The head of Viasna human rights centre Ales Bialiatski attracts attention to the fact that from the very beginning of the persecution of the public activist, Belarusian human rights watchdogs considered him a political prisoner, and he says that the fact of his recognition as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International is very importan.t

“First of all, it is a moral support to Yury Rubtsou, who is in such a difficult conditions now, and who had been sentenced to 2 years’ term in a penal colony by the court. Recognizing him a prisoner of conscience is to allow him to go through these hard times and maintain moral courage, - Ales Bialiatski said. - I believe it is a signal of the international human rights community to the Belarusian authorities and the Belarusian society, that the case of Yury Rubtsou has obviously political undertones”.

According to the human rights activist, it also shows that international human rights organisations, of which Amnesty International is one of the most influential worldwide, do not relax their attention to the human rights situation in Belarus, continue monitoring and in this way are trying to influence unjust decisions of the Belarusian authorities.

Yury Rubtsou, a prisoner of conscience from Homel, was sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment by the court of Pruzhany district on May 28, 2015. It extended his initial term, 18 months, which he had received in October 2014 for “insult of a judge” (under Article 391 of the Criminal Code). According to the prosecution, Yury Rubtsou denied several job offers in an open-time correctional facility of Pruzhany district, Brest region, where he had been serving his term initially. Yury Rubtsou was charged with violation of Article 415 of the Criminal Code (“Evasion from serving the sentence”), while witnesses said at the court proceedings that he had not refused to work technically, but he did so as a protest against law wages in the prison system. He challenges this decision, and at the moment he is kept in the remand prison in the town of Baranavichy.

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