SI protests against increased persecution of SI members and opposition in Belarus
26 June 2020
Ahead of the forthcoming elections on 9 August in Belarus, the persecution of political opponents by Alexander Lukashenko’s regime has not only continued, it has intensified with violent repression.
In a public statement on 1 June the Socialist International denounced the sentencing of Mikalai Statkevich, the leader of our member party in Belarus, Narodnaya Gramada, and co-chair of the SI Committee for the CIS, Caucasus and Black Sea who was barred from registering as a presidential candidate, to fifteen days in prison for taking part in peaceful protests demanding free and fair elections.
After completing his initial sentence Mikalai Statkevich was not released, as while in jail he was subjected to a further trial, without legal representation, and handed a new prison sentence. Since then, it has emerged that there has been yet another closed trial and a further sentence imposed on him. The conditions in the prison are reported to be appalling and Statkevich is not allowed any contact with his lawyer or his wife, Marina Adamovich, who has relentlessly demanded information on the state of her husband. Not only Mikalai Statkevich is being held in such conditions and with repeat sentences, so are many other democratic activists including several so-called “protest candidates” whose presidential election registrations were refused, among them Veronika Mishchanka, Volha Mikalaichyk and the blogger Sergey Tikhanovskaya; and other jailed activists including numerous Narodnaya Gramada members, and the presidential candidate Viktor Babariko, a former head of Belgazprombank.
At the closure of the registration process for election candidates to the presidency on 19 June, Narodnaya Gramada informed us that a total of seven candidates had filed the necessary documents and that several of those on the list are registered by the regime and are not genuine opponents to Lukashenko. The ensuing protests against Alexander Lukashenko resulted in a violent crackdown with hundreds being brutally arrested and held incommunicado.
Yesterday, 25 June, as the repression continued, the Secretary General of Narodnaya Gramada, our comrade Sergey Sparish, was violently seized by agents of the government from his apartment and as at this moment his whereabouts are unknown. (Link to photos of Sergey Sparish, taken by his mother, as he was forcibly removed from his home in Minsk).
The Socialist International strongly denounces these barbarous actions by the dictatorial regime of Lukashenko and reiterates its call for the release of all political prisoners and for the holding of free and fair elections in Belarus.
Cambio Político, 28 June 2020
En anticipación a las próximas elecciones del 9 de agosto en Belarús, la persecución de opositores políticos ejercida por el régimen de Alexander Lukashenko no solamente continúa, sino que se ha intensificado con una violenta represión... Read more
Previous SI statements and press releases: