Urgent Action: Free Opposition Leader Maryia Kalesnikava (Belarus: UA 147.20)

September 24, 2020

Belarusian authorities abducted opposition leader Maryia Kalesnikava on 7 September. After she resisted expulsion from Belarus she was detained and – on 16 September – charged with “undermining national security”. The authorities are rushing her prosecution to serve as a warning to all peaceful protesters, for whom she has become a symbol of resistance, dignity and courage. Maryia Kalesnikava is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally.

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  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
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CONTACT INFORMATION

Andrey Shved
Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus
Vul. Internatsianalnaya, 22
220030 Minsk, Belarus
Email: [email protected]
Copies to: [email protected]
Twitter: @prokuraturaby
Facebook: @prokuraturaby
Instagram: @prokuraturaby
Ambassador Dmitry Basik
Embassy of Belarus
1619 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington DC 20009
Phone: 202 986 9420 I Fax: 202 986 1805
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear Prosecutor General,

I am writing concerning the ongoing detention and unfounded prosecution of Maryia Kalesnikava under article 361 of the Criminal Code (“Calls to actions seeking to undermine national security”).

Maryia Kalesnikava has committed no internationally recognized crime and is being prosecuted solely for exercising her human rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. Her prosecution has no basis under national law and violates Belarus’ international obligations. Criticizing the authorities, taking part in peaceful protest or organizing peaceful demonstrations is every person’s human right and not a crime against the state.

As you know, Maryia Kalesnikava went missing in Minsk on 7 September. It promptly transpired that she was abducted by masked men in plainclothes and taken to the border where she resisted expulsion to Ukraine by tearing up her passport. She was detained – and on 16 September – officially charged with a crime she did not commit.

Maryia Kalesnikava’s case is emblematic of dozens of those in Belarus prosecuted under trumped-up charges for peacefully exercising their human rights. They are all prisoners of conscience, and they all must be released immediately and unconditionally. I urge you end the criminal proceedings against Maryia Kalesnikava and all other Belarusian prisoners of conscience, and ensure their immediate and unconditional release; and instigate a prompt, effective and impartial investigation into all reported violations of human rights, including Maryia Kalesnikava’s abduction, all instances of unlawful deprivation of liberty and arbitrary arrests, unlawful use of force by law enforcement officials, and fabrication of criminal charges against political activists, and ensure that anyone found responsible for these violations is held accountable in fair trial proceedings.

Yours sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

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