As part of our solidarity campaign #WeStandBYyou, Laura Kraft (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens), Tom Clonan (Ireland, Seanad Eireann, Independent) and Misbah Khan (German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens) have taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.
Yuliya Yurhilevich is a lawyer and has been active on behalf of many political prisoners in Belarus. However, in February 2022 she lost her license and was forced to resign. On 30 August 2022, while travelling back from Poland to Belarus, she was arrested and accused under Art. 361 (“promotion of extremist activities”) of the Belarusian Criminal Code.
Laura Kraft, Member of the German Bundestag has taken on the godparenthood for Yuliya Yurhilevich and stresses: “I strongly condemn the detention of Yuliya Yurhilevich and demand her immediate release. As a lawyer, she has stood up for our basic democratic values and fought for freedom, democracy and the rule of law in her country. I will now do my utmost to ensure that Yuliya Yurhilevich is released from unlawful detention.”
Dzianis Khazei, a student, was detained on 10 March 2021 for his involvement in the post-election protests of 10 August 2020. He was charged under Art. 293 (“Participation in riots”) and sentenced to 3 years in a juvenile penal colony on the same day as his arrest.
Tom Clonan, Member of the Irish Upper House, has taken on the godparenthood for Dzianis Khazei and declares: „I condemn the arrest and imprisonment of Dzianis Khazei – as a child – and his continued detention for political reasons. Dzianis should be released immediately and returned to his family and to his studies. I have sons and a daughter who are the same age as Dzianis and I can only imagine the pain and suffering endured by him and his family at this time. Release Dzianis Khazei and all other political prisoners. I call on all European Union Citizens to condemn Dzianis Khazei’s false imprisonment.”
Aliaksandr Matsiayuk, a “Country for Life” activist and member of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s team, was detained on 13 April 2021 and sentenced to 9 years imprisonment on 5 October 2021 under Art. 328 (“Illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs without the purpose of sale”).
Misbah Khan, Member of the German Bundestag, has taken on the godparenthood for Aliaksandr Matsiayuk and emphasizes: “Aliaksandr Matsiayuk has already been in a Belarusian penal colony for nearly two years because he, along with others, is standing up for democracy and freedom in his country. In April 2021, he was arrested together with Aleh Barazna and both were officially charged and sentenced for illegal drug trafficking. Aleh Barazna was fortunately recently released from prison. Aliaksandr Matsiayuk was sentenced to nine years penal colony and remains in custody. Freedom of the press, freedom of expression, and the right to a fair trial and equal elections are human rights. They must be respected and defended under all circumstances. Therefore, as a Member of the Bundestag, I demand the immediate release of Aliaksandr Matsiayuk and all other political prisoners in Belarus. #WeStandBYyou”