As part of Libereco’s solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Lukas Benner (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens), Anja Reinalter (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens) and Markus Hümpfer (German Bundestag, Social Democratic Party) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Siarhei Dziuba is an employee of Belarusian Railways. He was arrested on 22 September 2021 as part of a criminal investigation into strikes at state-owned enterprises and is charged with alleged “high treason” (Criminal Code, Art. 356).
Lukas Benner is a member of the German Bundestag and of the Committee on Legal Affairs. He commented on his godparenthood of Siarhei Dziuba: “I have great respect for the courage and determination with which the people of Belarus have been demanding democracy, freedom and the rule of law for more than a year and resisting Lukashenka’s unlawful regime. This is why I have become the godparent of Siarhei Dziuba. Local strikes should neither be criminalised nor banned. They are a fundamental means of non-violent protest against the human rights violations and the ongoing violence of the Belarusian authorities against civilians. I call on Lukashenka’s regime to immediately release Siarhei Dziuba and all other political prisoners and to end the violence against the Belarusian population”.
Maryia Novik was the deputy head of accounting at the independent news portal TUT.by, against which a criminal investigation for serious tax evasion (Penal Code, Art. 243) was opened on 18 May 2021. In this context, the office and homes of key staff members were searched and the news portal was blocked. Novik was arrested as a suspect. The office and homes of key staff members were searched and the news portal was blocked.
Anja Reinalter, a member of the German Bundestag, has taken over the godparenthood of Maryia Novik and states: “This is not the first time that the authorities in Belarus have taken action against the TUT.BY news portal. After the 2020 presidential elections, dozens of news portals and political websites were blocked. Newspaper editorial offices have had to close. The accusation of tax evasion has been used repeatedly in the past to intimidate and silence the media, human rights activists and independent trade unions.
This godparenthood is important to me. I stand with Maryia Novik and the many other people in Belarus who are fighting for press freedom, human rights and fair and free elections. It is important to me that we as Alliance 90/The Greens continue to work for an end to state violence and arbitrariness against the democratic opposition and civil society in Belarus. That is why I have taken on this godparenthood.”
Yauhen Hovar was an employee of the BMZ steel plant in Žlobin. On 17 August 2020, he and other BMZ employees blocked a street of the plant in protest against electoral fraud and the violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrations. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for “disturbance of the public order” (Criminal code, Article 342).
Markus Hümpfer is a member of the German Bundestag. He took over the godparenthood of Yauhen Hovar from former MP Gabi Weber and states: “The events in Belarus show that not everywhere someone like me can be elected to parliament after a tough but fair election campaign and that a new majority provides a new government. In the process, the Belarusian people have made it clear that they are part of our European and democratic house. Yauhen Hovar was also imprisoned for his protest against obvious electoral fraud. Yet this peaceful protest is a democratic right and even a democratic duty. I therefore demand that Yauhen Hovar be released immediately.”