As part of Libereco’s solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Maria Nilsson (Swedish Parliament, Liberal Party), Lars Rohwer (German Bundestag, Christian Democratic Union) and Barbara Gysi (Swiss National Council, Sozial Democratic Party) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Maryia Uspenskaya is the widow of Andrei Zeltser, an IT specialist who was killed by KGB agents during a flat search on 28 September 2021. After the incident, Maryia Uspenskaya was arrested. The killing of Zeltser sparked much criticism on social media, to which the regime in turn responded with numerous arrests. Maryia Uspenskaya has not been charged yet.
Maria Nilsson is a member of the Swedish Parliament. She has taken on the godparenthood of Maryia Uspenskaya and states: “The repression of the illegal president Aliksandr Lukasjenko must stop. The brave people of Belarus deserves to live in a free and democratic state where they decide through free and fair election who should govern the country. All political prisoners must be released and an international court case against Lukasjenko must be open immediate. He belongs in jail not in the house of president.”
Andrei Kuznechyk is a freelance journalist for Radio Svaboda. He was arrested on 25 November 2021 and has since then been held in custody without charge.
Lars Rohwer is a member of the German Bundestag. He has taken on the godparenthood of Andrei Kuznechyk and explains: “For me, respecting and preserving human rights is a matter of course. It is horrible that human rights are being trampled on our European continent. Since the 2020 presidential elections, people in Belarus have taken to the streets to stand up against arbitrary state power and for free elections. As a result, countless people have been imprisoned.
One of them is Andrei Kuznechyk, a journalist at Radio Svaboda. It stands to reason that his arrest is also politically motivated and is another piece of the puzzle of Belarusian censorship and suppression of freedom of expression. Therefore, I call for Andrei Kuznechyk and all other political prisoners to be released immediately and for the Belarusian people to finally be granted their democratic rights!”
Liudmila Volkava is a member of the Presidium of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party. She was detained on 19 January 2022 and charged with allegedly “organizating actions that grossly violate public order” (Criminal Code, Art. 342).
Barbara Gysi is a member of the Swiss National Council and the former godparent of Natallia Hersche. After Hersches release, Gysi has become the godparent of Liudmila Volkava and explains: “Again and again activists are arrested on flimsy grounds. I become the godparent of Liudmila Volkava and am committed to her release. Political thought and action must not be a crime, but a democratic right. #WestandBYyou”