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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
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.