As part of our solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Katharina Prelicz-Huber (Swiss National Council, Green Party), Nicolas Walder (Swiss National Council, Green Party) und Damien Cottier (Swiss National Council, The Liberals) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Mikalai Biblis, a defendant in the high-profile “Flying Storks” case, was detained on 2 July 2021 and sentenced on 30 November 2021 under Art. 342 (“Organizing or participating in actions that grossly violate public order”), Art. 218 (“Intentionally destroying or damaging property in a dangerous manner or causing great harm”), Art. 130 (“Incitement to hatred”), Art. 359 (“Terrorist act against a state official or public figure”), and Art. 290 (“Threat to commit an act of terrorism”), and sentenced to 8 ½ years in a penal colony.
Katharina Prelicz-Huber, Member of the Swiss National Council has taken on the godparenthood for Mikalai Biblis and stresses: “Thanks to Libereco and their #WeStandBYyou campaign, I was able to take on the godparenthood for Mikalai Biblis and thereby want to set an important sign of international solidarity for the politically oppressed people in Belarus. Mikalai Biblis is part of the so-called “Flying Storks” case, which includes a hacker organization that has been classified as terrorist by the Belarusian state. Together with 4 other members, he was sentenced to a very long prison term, and only because he stood up for the freedom of his country. I strongly condemn this form of arbitrary exercise of power and demand the immediate release of Mikalai Biblis and all political prisoners in Belarus.”
Andrei Budai is also part of the “Flying Storks” case and was arrested on 5 July 2021. He was charged under Art. 361 (“Calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security of Belarus”), Art. 130 (“Incitement to hatred”), Art. 290-4 (“Establishing or participating in an organization for the purpose of terrorist activity”) and Art. 359 (“Terrorist act against a state official or public figure”) and sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment in a penal colony.
Nicolas Walder, Member of the Swiss National Council, has taken on the godparenthood for Andrei Budai and declares: „The story of Andrei Budai is unfortunately not an isolated case. As part of the so-called “Flying Storks”, he was committed to a democratic Belarus and fought for basic human rights. The state’s response was harsh: 15 years in prison and an entry on the KGB list for alleged terrorists. I strongly condemn this arbitrary demonstration of power and call on the Belarusian government under Alexander Lukashenko to guarantee fundamental and human rights and to immediately release all political prisoners.”
Iryna Abdukeryna, a former teacher, was detained on 5 April 2022 and charged under Art. 361-1 (“Formation of or participation in an extremist group”), Art. 130 (“Incitement to hatred”), Art. 361-2 (“Financing the activities of an extremist group”) and Art. 369 (“Discrediting Belarus”) and sentenced to 4 years of penal colony.
Damien Cottier, Member of the Swiss National Council, has taken on the godparenthood for Iryna Abdukeryna and emphasizes: “Iryna Abdukeryna faces 4 years imprisonment in Belarus because of her actions against Russia’s war against Ukraine. Her supposed crime was to film Russian military convoys going through Belarus, thereby exposing Belarus’ involvement in this war of aggression. I strongly condemn her arrest, the manifold violation of human rights by the Belarusian regime and demand that Iryna and all political prisoners are released immediately.”