Belarusian human rights defender Nasta (Anastasia) Loika remains arbitrarily detained serving her fourth 15-day jail sentence since September. The authorities continue targeting Nasta Loika with fabricated charges in retaliation for her human rights work. There are serious concerns for her safety and wellbeing following reports that she has been subjected to torture or other ill-treatment. She must be immediately released.
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Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus
Vul. Internatsianalnaya, 22 220030 Minsk, Belarus
Email: [email protected]
Charge d’Affaires Mr. Pavel Shidlovsky
Embassy of Belarus
1619 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: 202 986 9420 I Fax: 202 986 1805
Email: [email protected]
Dear Prosecutor General,
I am extremely concerned about the renewed arbitrary detention of human rights defenders and educator Nasta (Anastasia) Loika
and reports of torture and other ill-treatment.
On 28 October, Nasta Loika was arbitrarily detained in Minsk and sentenced to 15 days in prison under fabricated charges of “petty hooliganism” (Article 19.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences). However, she was not released after serving her 15-day sentence but given an additional 15 days in jail for the same alleged offence. This is the fourth time since the beginning of September that Nasta Loika has been handed the same sentence for the same absurd charge, in what constitutes a clear pattern of harassment against a human rights defender.
Importantly, during the last online hearing Nasta Loika reported being tortured with electric shock during questioning and left out in the cold without outerwear for eight hours. The prison authorities are also refusing to hand her parcels with warm clothes, personal hygiene items and medicines she urgently needs.
Nasta Loika has committed no crime and is being relentlessly targeted by the authorities in retaliation for her human rights work.
I urge you to do everything in your power to:
- Ensure Nasta Loika’s immediate release, and end the misuse of the criminal justice system to target human rights defenders;
- Ensure that Nasta Loika is not tortured or otherwise illtreated, and that she is treated in accordance with international human rights laws and standards.