As part of the solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou of Libereco, Sir Edward Davey (House of Commons, Liberal Democrats, Great Britain), Joe O’Reilly, (Seanad Éireann, Fine Gael, Ireland) and Seán Sherlock (Dáil Éireann, Labour Party, Ireland) have taken over a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus. 

Aliaksei Ramanau is an opposition activist from Homieĺ. He was engaged in Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s campaign. On 16 December, the Chojniki District Court sentenced Ramanau to one year in prison under Article 368 of the Belarusian Criminal Code for “insulting the President of Belarus”.

Sir Edward Davey  

Sir Edward Davey, Member of the British House of Commons and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, has taken over the godparenthood for Aliaksei Ramanau and stated: “The state-organised violence and repression of peaceful protestors during Belarus’s elections last year was shocking, and it has been made worse by the wrongful imprisonment of political protestors. So I am honoured to call for the release of Alakseij Ramanau, a volunteer in Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s campaign who spoke out against “President” Lukashenka at an election rally in Chojniki. On December 16 last year, the Chojniki District Court sentenced Alaksei Ramanau to 12 months in prison under Art. 368 of the Criminal Code (“insult of the President of the Republic of Belarus”). I and my party urge the Government of Belarus to refrain from any further violence and to respect the fundamental human rights of the Belarusian people. The right to freedom of speech is inalienable under the universal declaration.”

Aliaksei Samusenka was detained on 5 November for having disturbed public order. He is being detained in Minsk and is charged under Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code.

Joe O’Reilly

Joe O’Reilly, Deputy Chair of the Irish Senate and member of the Irish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, has taken over the godparenthood for Aliaksei Samusenka and stated: “I am proud to sponsor Aliaksei Samusenka who is wrongly imprisoned for participation in a peaceful protest in #Belarus. The right to peaceful protest is a core principle in any civilised society.”

Siarhei Yarashevich was detained on 2 October under Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code for having disturbed public order. His wife Antanina Kanavalava is also being detained as a political prisoner.

Seán Sherlock

Seán Sherlock, member of the Irish Parliament, has taken over the godparenthood for Siarhei Yarashevich. On this occasion Mr. Sherlock stated: “I call for the immediate release of Siarhei Yarashevich, who has been jailed since 2 October 2020 for participating in a peaceful demonstration in #Belarus. His wife,  Antanina Kanavalava, an activist in the campaign team of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya,  is also a political prisoner. The politically motivated persecution of this family must end as must the intimidation of human rights defenders at viasna96.”