As part of Libereco’s #WeStandBYyou solidarity campaign, Gabi Weber (German Bundestag, SPD), Vincent P. Martin (Seanad Éireann, Green Party, Ireland) and Elisabeth Falkhaven (Swedish Riksdag, Green Party) are taking over godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Yauhen Hovar is an employee of the BMZ steel plant in Žlobin and on 17 August 2020, together with other BMZ employees, blocked a road for escort vehicles from the plant in protest against electoral fraud and the violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators. He was charged under Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code (“disturbance of public order”) and sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
On the occasion of taking over her prisoner’s godparenthood for Yauhen Hovar, Gabi Weber, Member of the Bundestag, said: “For months, the people of Belarus have been fighting against the regime of Alexander Lukashenko for free elections, real democracy and their human rights. I am impressed by the indomitability of many people who, in the face of a regime that brutally fights any resistance, stand in his way again and again, without regard for their own safety, certainly with their own fears, but also with a lot of courage. I was approached by Libereco if I would be willing to give a name and a face to the many prisoners, to make them visible by showing solidarity with a political prisoner of the regime. As a member of the Bundestag and a passionate trade unionist, I gladly agreed. International solidarity has been important to me as a trade unionist for very many years, because it gives our struggles worldwide the necessary strength. This is also true in this case. I demand the immediate release of Yauhen Hovar and all political prisoners in Belarus.”
Yegor Dudnikov is a 20-year-old Russian citizen who lived in Minsk for about a year before his detention. He worked as a voice actor and narrator in cartoons, anime, games and commercials, as well as a video editor. On 4 March 2021, Yegor Dudnikov was arrested and his flat was searched. During the detention he was beaten. He was charged under Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code (“organisation of acts grossly injurious to public order”), for which he faces three years in prison.
Commenting on his godparenthood for Yegor Dudnikov, Irish MP Vincent P. Martin said: “It is vitally important we stand in solidarity with Yegor Dudnikov and all who have lost their freedom in Belarus.”
Aliaksandr Kardziukou is a resident of Brest and was sentenced to 10 years in prison on 25 February 2021. He is a witness to the murder of Henadz Shutau by Belarusian security forces. Aliaksandr Kardziukou was accused of trying to kill a soldier who was dressed in civilian clothes during the post-election protests in Brest. Kardziukou pleaded not guilty.
Swedish Member of Parliament Elisabeth Falkhaven has taken over the godparenthood for Aliaksandr Kardziukou and demands: “Free all political prisoners in Belarus now! Aliaksandr Kardziukou is one of them and he is in prison for 10 years, from august 2020. Free Aliaksandr Kardziukou immedeatly! Lukashenko has to stop this pat hount for his compatriots and let Belarus become a free country again.”