On 14 December 2021, the policial prisoners Siarhei Tsikhanouski, Ihar Losik, Mikalai Statkevich, Uladzimir Tsyhanovich, Artsiom Sakau, and Dzmitry Papou to 14-18 years in prison. Their godparents Robin Wagener, Gyde Jensen and Roger Nordmann have published statements and call for the immediate release of all six convicts.
On 14 December 2021, the six political prisoners were sentenced in Homiel. The trial in the “Tsikhanouski case” took place behind closed doors and lasted almost six months. The defendants were accused of organising mass protests in Belarus before the 2020 presidential elections. All the defendants had already been detained before the election and are considered political prisoners. They were sentenced to the following prison terms:
- Siarhei Tsikhanouski: 18 years
- Mikalai Statkevich: 14 years
- Ihar Losik: 15 years
- Dzmitry Papou: 16 years
- Artsiom Sakau: 16 years
- Uladzimir Tsyhanovich: 15 years old
Now the godparents of the convicts have spoken out about the sentences.
Roger Nordmann has taken over the godparenthood of Mikalai Statkevich from the retired member of the German Bundestag Margarete Bause. Nordmann is a member of the Swiss National Council and the head of the parliamentary group of the Social Democratic Party. His statement:
“Today, opposition politician and Social Democrat Mikalai Statkevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison. His alleged offence: ‘organising mass protests’. The sentence shows how arbitrary and brutal the repression of the Belarusian regime under Lukashenko is. As Mikalai Statkevich’s godparent, I demand his immediate release. Just like me, he should be allowed to live out his political commitment and to democratically shape his country.”
The statement of Robin Wagener and Gyde Jansen, the godparents of Ihar Losik and Artsiom Sakau:
“We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Ihar Losik, Artsiom Sakau and all other political prisoners in Belarus! Standing up for democracy and freedom is not a crime, but a human right. Today’s “sentences” against Ihar Losik, Artsiom Sakau, Siarhei Tsikhanouski, Uladzimir Tsyhanovich, Mikalai Statkevich and Dzmirty Papou are brutal arbitrariness by dictator Lukashenka. The preceding “trial” resembled a political show trial and in no way met rule of law standards.
As part of the #WeStandBYyou solidarity campaign of the human rights organisation “Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights”, we have taken on the godparenthood of Ihar Losik and Artsiom Sakau. We stand unwaveringly by their side and by the side of all courageous people who tirelessly campaign for democracy and the rule of law, for fair and free elections in Belarus. They have our solidarity and full support. We will not stop campaigning for an end to state violence against the democratic opposition and civil society in Belarus. We will not give up fighting for the freedom of Ihar, Artsiom and all other political prisoners.”