As part of our solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Julian Pahlke (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens), Bjørnar Moxnes (Norwegian Storting, Rødt) and Tomasz Frankowski (European Parliament, Platforma Obywatelska, Poland) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Maryna Sankevich was arrested on 24 February 2022 and was charged under Art. 293 (“organization of riots”), Art. 342 (“organization of or participation in acts grossly violating public order”), Art. 368 (“insulting the president”) and Art. 130 (“incitement to hatred”) of the Belarusian Criminal Code. On 5 September 2022, she was convicted and sentenced to 7 years in prison.
Julian Pahlke, member of the German Bundestag and former godparent of the now released musician Anton Shnip, has taken on the godparenthood for Maryna Sankevich and states: “Maryna Sankevich is one of countless political prisoners in Belarus. She was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in a penal colony for her regime-critical publications in a telegram channel. Maryna and all people who stand up for democracy in their country despite massive repression deserve my utmost respect. I demand an improvement of the prison conditions and the access of her friends to her in the short term. It remains the case that all political prisoners, including Maryna Sankevich, must be released from prison immediately.”
Aliaksandr Yarashuk is the Chairperson of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BCDTU) and was detained on 19 April 2022 under Article 342 (“Organization or participation in acts grossly violating public order”) and Article 361 (“Calls for actions aimed at causing harm to national security”).
Bjørnar Moxnes, member of the Norwegian Storting, has taken on the godparenthood of Aliaksandr Yarashuk and declares: “Union leader Aliaksandr Yarashuk has been a political prisoner since April this year. Aliaksandr is only one of many union activist imprisoned by Belarusian authorities, simply for promoting democracy and labor rights. Unions and democracy go hand in hand, and I am therefor announcing my parliamentary godparenthoodship for Aliaksandr Yarashuk.”
Paviel Sava was arrested on 1 December 2020 and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment on 17 October 2022 under Article 285 (“Participation in a criminal organization”) and Article 289 (“Terrorist acts”). His sentence is part of the high-profile Autukhovich case, in which prison terms of up to 25 years were imposed.
Tomasz Frankowski, Member of the European Parliament and former godparent of Maryia Kalenik and Andrei Novikau, has taken on the godparenthood of Paviel Sava and announces: „Almost 2.5 years since the rigged elections in Belarus, prisons are overflowing with political prisoners and many of them are sentenced to long times behind bars. Paviel Sava for example was sentenced to 20 years in prison. I demand the immediate release of Paviel and all political prisoners in Belarus. European Parliament stands with him and other political prisoners in this admirable struggle.“