Cem Özdemir, the long-time former chairman of Alliance 90/The Greens and current chairman of the Committee on Transport and Digital Infrastructure in the German Bundestag, is taking over the prisoner’s godparenthood for the Belarusian imprisoned blogger and journalist Raman Pratasevich.

In an unprecedented act of state terrorism, the Belarusian regime had a plane of the Irish airline Ryanair on its way from Greece to Lithuania hijacked in Belarusian airspace on 23 May. When the plane was forced to land in Minsk, Raman Pratasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega were arrested.

A video released by the Belarusian regime on 24 May shows Raman Pratasevich being forced to make a confession, apparently under torture.

Cem Özdemir comments on this as follows: “Dictator Alexander Lukashenko must fear his own people and keep his head above water by violence against the democracy movement in his own country. The kidnapping and political imprisonment of Raman Pratasevich is an act of state terror and an attack on our European values. I expressly welcome the new sanctions against Belarus. I demand the immediate release of Raman Pratasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega. The German Federal Government must campaign vigorously for their release and that of the other political prisoners in Belarus. A confession video presumably forced under torture is highly alarming and shows that Lukashenko doesn’t give a damn about human rights and freedom of the press.”

As part of Libereco’s #WeStandBYyou solidarity campaign, more than 180 MPs have already “adopted” political prisoners in Belarus.

Cem Özdemir spoke at the “Stuttgart stands with Belarus” rally on 30 May, where he expressed solidarity with all political prisoners in Belarus. A video recording of his speech was published on Facebook.