9 December 2021
On 14 December, the sentencing of Mikalai Statkevich, chair of Narodnaya Hramada, the SI member party in Belarus, is scheduled to begin, following a closed trial that has taken place inside Homiel prison where he is incarcerated. During this sham trial, Statkevich has had no access to legal representation or defence and throughout the 560 days he has spent in detention, he has been denied all contact with his family, as the illegitimate regime of Alexander Lukashenko reveals its determination to suppress all democratic forces in the country.
The sentencing of Mikalai Statkevich will be another dark day for those struggling for the political and human rights of the Belarusian people. For many years a central figure in the democratic opposition to the Lukashenko dictatorship, Statkevich has worked tirelessly, at the risk of his freedom, to bring change and democracy to Belarus and actively participated in the activities of the Socialist International, as the current co-chair of the SI Committee for the CIS, the Caucasus and the Black Sea.
Other members of Narodnaya Hramada have also been arrested and tried without due process, among them the secretary general of the party, Sergei Sparish, who has received a six-year sentence, and activist Andrei Khrenkov, condemned to five years’ imprisonment. Both have already been detained for well over a year. The Socialist International reiterates its firm condemnation of the politically motivated detention and trial of Mikalai Statkevich, Sergei Sparish, Andrei Khrenkov and many others. The dictatorial Belarusian regime, lacking democratic legitimacy and popular support, has intensified its blatant oppression of the political opposition in order to maintain its grip on power.
The full solidarity of the Socialist International and its member parties is with the detained members of Narodnaya Hramada and all political prisoners in Belarus. We vigorously protest against this political persecution and demand the freedom of Mikalai Statkevich and all those who are unjustly incarcerated in Belarus. We reiterate our call for members worldwide and the wider international community to take action in support of those who have sacrificed their freedom for the cause of democracy in Belarus, and to exert pressure on the regime in order for the true will of the people to be freely expressed.