Urgent Action Update: HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS REMAIN IN DETENTION (Belarus: UA 85.21)

August 3, 2021

Belarusian human rights defenders Ales Bialiatski, Valyantsin Stefanovich and Uladzimir Labkovich remain in pretrial detention and face trumped up charges in retaliation for their human rights work with the Human Rights Center Viasna. Nina Labkovich who was detained with them was released on July 23, 2021. Their prosecution is part of the systemic crackdown of civil society and human rights activists that has been ongoing since the post-election protests of August 2020. They have committed no crime and should be immediately released.

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TAKE ACTION:

  1. Please take action as-soon-as possible. This Urgent Action expires on September 28, 2021.
  2. 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.
  3. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 85.21. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Andrey Shved
Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus
Vul. Internatsianalnaya, 22 220030 Minsk, Belarus
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @prokuraturaby
Facebook: @prokuraturab
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]
Twitter: @BelarusEmbUSA
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear Prosecutor General,

I am writing to express my deep concern about the arrest on July 14, 2021 and subsequent transfer to pretrial detention on July 17, 2021 of the chair of the Human Rights Centre Viasna, Ales Bialiatski, the vice chair of Viasna, Valyantsin Stefanovich, and Viasna’s lawyer Uladzimir Labkovich. They are human rights defenders who have committed no crime and are being targeted in retaliation for their human rights work.

Ales Bialiatski, Valyantsin Stefanovich and Uladzimir Labkovic were arrested on July 14, 2021 alongside others during the most recent instance of mass raids by law enforcement targeting civil society, opposition groups and human rights organizations. In March, the Belarusian Investigative Committee had opened a criminal case into the activities of Viasna under Article 342 of the Criminal Code (“organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order”), which is believed to be the reason for the pretrial detention of Valyantsin Stefanovich, Uladzimir Labkovich and Ales Bialiatski. Article 342 has been consistently misused to launch unfounded cases targeting civil society activists, independent media and human rights defenders as part of the ongoing crackdown that has been going on since the widely disputed presidential election in August 2020, when thousands of Belarusians took to the streets in mostly peaceful protests.

In the light of the above, I urge you to do everything in your power to ensure the immediate release of Valyantsin Stefanovich, Uladzimir Labkovich, and Ales Bialiatski as they have committed no recognizable criminal offence and are being prosecuted in retaliation for their human rights work.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES