The authorities have been asked to stop immediately the persecution of blogger Grey Cat.
Belarusian human rights activists and other civil society organizations have issued a joint statement in support of blogger and activist Dzmitry Kazlou, known by the name "Grey Cat," spring96.org reports:
"On January 16, 2020. Dzmitry Kazlou, known as blogger Grey Cat, was once again sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest by the court in Vorsha.
It is also known that a total of eight protocols under Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code (for participating in rallies and distributing appeals to participate in them) have been drawn up against Dzmitry Kazlou and his another trial will be held in the Leninski district court of Minsk on January 27.
On 25 December 2019, Dzmitry Kazlou was arrested for 15 days and since then kept in the temporary detention center in Vorsha for participating in peaceful assemblies that took place in Minsk during the parliamentary elections.
On January 9, 2020, he was not released, because on that very day the Vorsha district court sentenced him to the next, second consecutive 15-day arrest, this time for participating in the Minsk rallies against "deep integration" on December 21, 2019.
The next day, on January 10, 2020, he was tried again, this time for participating in the protests in Minsk on December 20, 2019. The court decided to punish him with the third arrest for 15 days.
On January 13, 2020, the court conveyor went on, and Dzmitry Kazlou was sentenced for 15 days for the fourth time - for calling on social networks to the meeting in Minsk on December 29, 2019.
On January 20, the blogger was temporarily released from the TDF in Vorsha for the period of "disinfection". He told journalists that he had been sentenced to a total of 90 days of administrative arrest.
The tactics of sentencing the public activists to several administrative arrests in a row has been used by the Belarusian authorities for politically motivated pressure before. Thus, in 2012, activist Ivan Amelchanka was serving 52 days of administrative arrest at the Minsk central detention center in a row.
Once again, we note that such practice of imposing the Administrative Violations Code provisions is vicious, politically motivated, used to exert pressure and punish blogger Dzmitry Kazlou for his public activities.
In addition, we note that Dzmitry Kazlou's deprivation of liberty, in its duration, is correlated with the penalty of arrest under the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. Dzmitry Kazlou's detention was used solely in connection with his exercise of the freedom of peaceful assembly, expression and dissemination of information guaranteed by both the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and international human rights norms - the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in particular.
We would like to remind that according to paragraph 3.1 of the Manual on defining the term "political prisoner", approved by the Belarusian human rights community at the 3rd Human Rights Forum, deprivation of liberty (including administrative arrest) due to non-violent exercise of freedoms guaranteed by international norms of human rights law is the basis for recognizing such a person as a political prisoner and demanding his immediate release. These demands fully apply to all those administratively arrested for participating, organizing and calling for peaceful assemblies, as we have repeatedly stated.
In this connection, we, representatives of Belarusian human rights organizations, protest against the political persecution and arrest of blogger Dzmitry Kazlou and demand his immediate release, as well as:
to cancel the rulings of the Maskouski district court of Minsk of 25 December 2019, and of the Vorsha district court of January 9, 10 and 13, 2020, as well as other court rulings under Art. 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences, issued against Dzmitry Kazlou;
to terminate the administrative proceedings previously initiated against Dzmitry Kazlou under Article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences".
Human Rights Centre "Viasna";
Belarusian Association of Journalists;
Belarusian Documentation Center;
Legal Initiative Public Association;
Human Constanta Consultation Centre on Actual International Practices and their Implementation in Law;
Belarusian House of Human Rights named after Barys Zvazskou;
Lawtrend Center of Legal Transformation;
Initiative Forb Partnership;
Office for the Rights of People with Disabilities;
Belarusian PEN Center