As part of our solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Philip Krämer (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens), Annette Widmann-Mauz (German Bundestag, Christian Democratic Union) and Kati Piri (House of Representatives, Labour Party, Netherlands) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Aliaksandr Danilevich worked as a lawyer, judge and university lecturer until his imprisonment on 20 May 2022. Shortly before his arrest, he signed an anti-war appeal together with other Belarusian lawyers. In response, the bar association initiated disciplinary proceedings against him and he lost his position at the Institute for International Relations of the State University in Minsk, despite decades of work together. On 10 April 2023, he was convicted under Art. 361 (“incitement to acts aimed at harming national security”) and Art. 361-4 (“promotion of extremist activities”) of the Belarusian Criminal Code and sentenced to 10 years of penal colony.
Philip Krämer, Member of the German Bundestag, has taken on the godparenthood for Aliaksandr Danilevich and states: “Aliaksandr Danilevich (lawyer and judge at the International Court of Arbitration for Sport CAS) was imprisoned because he spoke out and stood up for democracy, for fundamental rights and against war. My full solidarity goes to the courageous people in Belarus who continue to fight for a democratic Belarus despite the threat of arrests and brutal violence. I strongly condemn the state violence against them. Aliaksandr is one of these courageous people. That is why I have taken on a political godparenthood for him. He and all other political prisoners must be released immediately and unconditionally.”
Andrei Padniabenny is a Russian citizen who has lived in Belarus since he was 6 years old and was detained on 5 November 2021. During a closed-door trial, he was charged under Art. 218 (“Intentional destruction of or damage to property committed in a generally dangerous manner or causing damage on a large scale”), Art. 369 (“Insulting a government official”), Art. 368 (“Insulting the President”), Art. 361-1 (“Formation of or participation in an extremist group”), Art. 130 (“Incitement to hatred”), Art. 289 (“Act of terrorism”) and Art. 361-4 (“Promotion of extremist actions”) and sentenced to 16 years and 8 months imprisonment. He is also on the KGB list of alleged terrorists.
Annette Widmann-Mauz, Member of the German Bundestag and former godparent of the now released Yana Arabeika, has taken on the godparenthood of Andrei Padniabenny and emphasises: “In Belarus, many people continue to be unlawfully imprisoned because they stand up for democracy, freedom and the rule of law. Andrei Padniabenny was also imprisoned in the course of the mass protests following the presidential elections and shortly afterwards sentenced to almost 16 years in prison. Previously, as an election observer, he had filed a complaint with the Belarusian prosecutor’s office for electoral fraud. Courageous people like Andrei Padniabenny are exemplary in standing up for a better future for their country. Their fate must therefore not be forgotten. In this spirit, I call for the immediate release of Andrei Padniabenny and the other over 1,400 political prisoners in Belarus.”
Ina Hlinskaya and Valeryia Hlinskaya, mother and daughter, were both working as bank employees and were arrested on 28 December 2021. They are accused of forwarding personal data of law enforcement officers to the Telegram channel “Black Book of Belarus” in August 2020. On 10 January 2023, they were sentenced to 7 and respectively 6 ½ years of imprisonment in a penal colony under Art. 130 (“Incitement to hatred”), Art. 352 (“Unauthorised acquisition of computer information”) and Art. 203-1 (“Illegal acts concerning information on private life and personal data”).
Kati Piri, Member of the Dutch House of Representatives and former godparent of Dzmitry Kulakouski, who has been released in the meantime, has taken on the godparenthood for Valeryia Hlinskaya and Ina Hlinskaya and states: “It is outrageous that in Belarus, our neighbours in the EU, over 1400 people are imprisoned for political reasons. One example are mother and daughter Ina and Valeryja Hlinskaja, who were convicted to a draconian 7 and 6.5 years in prison. I call for their immediate and unconditional release and the release of all political prisoners in Belarus.”