As part of the solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou of Libereco, James Lawless (Dáil Éireann, Fianna Fáil, Ireland), Tonia Antoniazzi (House of Commons, Labour Party, UK) and Jasper van Dijk (Tweede Kamer, Socialistische Partij, Netherlands) have taken over a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Ihar Povarau is an employee of the BMZ steel plant in Žlobin. He was arrested on 23 November 2020 for organising a strike at the company on 17 August 2020. On 1 February 2021, he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment under Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code for disturbing public order.
James Lawless, Chair of the Justice Committee of the Irish Parliament, has taken over prisoner’s godparenthood for Ihar Povarau and says: “I demand the release of Ihar Povarau, imprisoned for three years for participating in a strike at the BMZ steel works, Zlobin, to protest at the 2020 fraudulent election and the subsequent extreme police brutality towards peaceful demonstrators. Ireland stands with Belarus and all those fighting to restore democracy. An assault on one is an assault on all of us. This must end now.”
Kanstantsin Svidunovich is the host of the TV programme “Morning Espresso” on Belarus-4 of the TV and radio company “Brest”. He was arrested on 24 March 2021 for allegedly taking part in a demonstration in Brest on 13 September 2020, where hundreds of people gathered to sing and dance. He is charged with disturbing public order under Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code.
Tonia Antoniazzi, Member of the British Parliament, has adopted Kanstantsin Svidunovich. On the occasion of the godparenthood, she says: “It is of utmost important that Parliamentarians throughout Europe continue to demand the release of prisoners who are being illegally detained. I am supporting these prisoners and am proud to adopt Kanstantsin Svidunovich. Kanstantsin who has been detained since 24th March ’21 for allegedly being part of the ‘dancing protest case’ which was opened after a demonstration on September 13th 2020 in Brest. A gathering of people to sing and dance peacefully was dispersed by water cannon and dozens were detained. This was not a threat to national or public security and the people were attacked disproportionately. Freedom of peaceful assembly is a human right and I condemn the politics of Belarus which needs to be cleaned up and reformed in the light of a presidential election which was not considered open and fair.”
Darya Danilava is the CEO of IT companies Rocket Data and TAM.BY. She was arrested on 18 May 2021 under Article 243 of the Belarusian Criminal Code in criminal proceedings brought against the internet platform TUT.BY for alleged tax evasion on a particularly large scale.
Jasper van Dijk, Member of the Dutch Parliament, has taken over the godparenthood for Darya Danilava and states: “I strongly condemn the arrest of Darya Danilava. I demand the immediate release of her and all other political prisoners in Belarus. The increasing numbers of political prisoners in Belarus is violating the most basic democratic and human rights. Belarus must immediately stop infringing on their citizens’ fundamental rights to freedom of opinion and freedom of press. Set her Free!”