20 August 2018, Monday, 17:42
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‘Raise Issue Of Repression!’

PHOTO: SVABODA.ORG

The forum «Freedom to Political Prisoners» appealed to the participants of the «Minsk Dialogue».

The meeting of the forum «Freedom to Political Prisoners» was held in the Minsk office of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party. The forum brings together a number of politicians, social activists and human rights defenders who are fighting for human rights on their platforms, Radio Liberty reports.

The meeting adopted a special statement addressed to the «Minsk Dialogue» with regard to political prisoners in Belarus, and criticized the human rights defenders from Viasna and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee who «understate the scale of the problem.»

«Raise the issue of political repression in Belarus at the Minsk forum, do not ignore the problem,» - members of the forum «Freedom to Political Prisoners» addressed to fellow human rights activists. «The condition of the dialogue with the Belarusian regime should be the release of all political prisoners in Belarus.»

The participants of the meeting adopted special statement addressed to the «Minsk Dialogue».

«We are calling on the international community to support democracy, legality and independence of Belarus. Set the release of all political prisoners and the end of political repression as a condition for the dialogue with Lukashenka,» - it says.

According to the Viasna HRC and the BHC, two people are recognized as political prisoners in Belarus: former teacher Mikhail Zhamchuzhny and public activist Dzmitry Paliyenka. Meanwhile, the participants of the forum «Freedom to Political Prisoners» believe that 7 people should be added to this list, and three more are close candidates of being included thereof as well.

Actual information about each of them has been provided at the meeting.

Mikhail Zhamchuzhny, serving 6.5 years in a colony in Horki on charges of «trying to get official information».

«He’s in the punitive confinement all the time, and he is being denied access to information. It's a shame that the man was left alone with the regime. The Viasna HRC is trying to influence, to obtain permit for the human rights activists to visit him, but the authorities are too much afraid. We must tell the European community: there is an inhuman torture of people. To change something, we need to introduce sanctions against the Belarusian regime, »- said public activist, documentary film director Volha Nikalaichyk.

Dzmitry Palieynka, serving 2.5 years in a colony in Babruisk after participating in the «Critical Mass» action.

«His leg was not properly cured, but they sent him to work - to clean the wires, the job which is very dangerous for health. He works 6 days a week. He was also put into punitive confinement several times. They are also trying to intimidate him with Article 411 – a new trial for disobeying the administration,» - said Volha Nikalaichyk.

Sviataslau Baranovich, sentenced to 3 years on charges of «violent actions against a policeman» during the Non-Parasites March. He is held in a remand prison in Zhodzina, they must send him to the colony soon.

«We spoke about Baranovich to 13 ambassadors of foreign countries, including European ones, but so far there has been no reaction. It is necessary to give more information about his case,» - said the co-chairman of the BCD Pavel Seviarynets.

«This case is clearly political. The court did not pay attention to the fact that Baranovich, using violence against the policeman, could not know that they were law enforcement officers. He defended people who were attacked by unknown persons,» - activist Natallia Harachna added.

Taras Avatarau, serving 5 years of imprisonment in the Vitsebsk colony Vitba-3 for the transportation of a grenade.

«They start putting pressure on Taras after each action of solidarity. He is told: if you raise the issue in the media that you are a political prisoner, then be sure to be prosecuted under Article 411 - a new term allegedly for disobeying the administration. Still, Avatarau's mother welcomes our actions,» - Pavel Seviarynets said.

Football fans, members of the unregistered anti-fascist organization Ilia Valavik, Dzmitry Tsekhanovich, Vadzim Boyka, Philip Boyka.

Ilia Valavik is serving 10 years, including on charges of malicious hooliganism. Viasna, BHC do not recognize him and other defendants in the case as political prisoners, although the forum «Freedom to Political Prisoners» believes that Ilia Valavik and his friends were victims of persecution for political views. This is the opinion of human rights activist Katsiaryna Sadouskaya.

«He had a surgery on his arm, the doctors removed a piece of a needle, they refused to provide him medical care for a long time. His wife and child had to leave Belarus, they were hiding from the FSB. Ilia Valavik's father died, the mother is fighting for her son alone,» - Volha Nikalaichyk says.

Ales Yurkoyts, sentenced to 7 years allegedly for bribery.

«The latest information about Ales: he actively corresponded, recently replied that he is holding up well. Very impressed with our pickets of solidarity with portraits of political prisoners, including his. He also hopes that he will be released earlier, provided that the pressure on the Belarusian authorities on the part of the European Union increases. Correspondence with him is hampered,» - Pavel Seviarynets said.

Three more people, according to the activists of the forum «Freedom to Political Prisoners», may soon supplement this list.

Pavlo Sharoiko. According to the information from the Ukrainian Embassy, the Ukrainian journalist was recently sentenced to 8 years in prison allegedly for espionage.

The trial passed behind closed doors, the journalists were not even allowed to witness the pronouncement of the verdict. The Supreme Court has not yet given information about the trial of Pavlo Sharoiko.

The participants in the forum «Freedom to Political Prisoners» believe that his case is falsified.

Henadz Fiadynich and Ihar Komlik, the leaders of the independent trade union REP.

«The defendants in the criminal case on «tax evasion on a particularly large amount» Fiadynich and Komlik are studying the case materials, are going to file counterclaims against the Investigatory Committee and the state mass media for disseminating false information. They are threatened with real terms, forcible labor without sending to a specialized facility or delay of punishment. But we understand that people will stand trial for their activity in protecting the rights of workers, » - human rights activist Aleh Vouchak believes.