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Ryhor Kastusiou Thanked Seán Haughey for Godparenthood for Vitold Ashurak

12.02.2021

The BPF Party chairman sent an appreciation letter to the member of lower house of Irish Parliament.

Dear Mr. Haughey!

On behalf of the BPF Party, let me thank you for joining the #WeStandBYyou solidarity campaign with Belarusian political prisoners, initiated by human rights defenders together with the Libereco.

We especially appreciate and are touched by warm words of support you addressed to our associate Vitold Ashurak, who is a member of the BPF Party National Board. The authoritarian Belarusian regime has thrown Mr. Ashurak behind bars for five years for his political activity in Lida town under false charges of resisting riot police. This is an obvious demonstration of political prosecution of opposition for peaceful protest, another display of injustice and violence by the authoritarian regime.

We are especially outraged by unjustified closed trial. Only final court sitting was available to the public, where the sentence was announced. Unfortunately, after this police arrested several people present at the court sitting. We also condemn these actions of the authorities in the strictest terms.

On January 27, 2021, seven leading human rights organizations of Belarus recognized the BPF Party member Vitold Ashurak as a political prisoner in their joint statement “31 new political prisoners. HRDs insist on retrials and release of convicts”.

In addition, we would like to inform you about Vitold Ashurak’s case that the seized from him during the search BPF Party membership card was named as a piece of evidence proving his guilt. The court accepted it as evidence of guilt and ruled that this membership card, which is a completely legal document of the officially registered political party, must be destroyed. After this, six Belarusian opposition political parties of various ideologies (the left, social democrats, the greens, liberals, the right) made a consolidated joint statement in protest against this new repressive practice –  Joint Statement of Belarusian Political Parties Against Politically Motivated Criminal Prosecution on the Ground of Party Membership.

As of now, Vitold Ahurak’s attorneys have submitted an appeal to the regional court and are waiting for retrial. We are sure that international attention and pressure are of great importance in order to achieve justice in the highest court.

Dear Mr. Haughey! We are very grateful to you for your words of support and attention to this case, which is great assistance to Belarusian democratic forces in our struggle for democracy and civic freedoms in Belarus.  For us and Belarusian political prisoners, support from you, from the Fianna Fáil party, other deputies of the parliament and the people of Ireland, all people of goodwill of Europe is extremely important!

We will be happy to keep you informed about development of Vitold Ashurak’s case or provide any other information about the situation in Belarus you may be interested in.

Go raibh maith agat!

Yours faithfully,

Ryhor Kastusiou

BPF Party Chairman

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