The president of our member party the Belarusian Green Party, Dmitry Kuchuk, has been kidnapped by State Police and later imprisoned for 15 days.
Kuchuk was one of the organisers of the "Chernobyl Way" march, which was organised to remember the victims of the Chernobyl disaster. It was to be held in Minsk on April 26, but the action was not permitted by the authorities. He disappeared on the day of the planned march, when unknown persons broke into the Belarusian Green party office.
On April 27, Dmitry Kuchuk was put on trial, being accused of violating the law on holding mass events. For this, he was sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest. The judge explicitly cited an interview on social media in which he stated his plans walk along the route of the "Chernobyl Way" in honour of the victims as the reason for his indictment.
The European Greens consider this to be a gross violation of human rights and demands the immediate release of Dmitry.
The Belarusian government is continuing to pursue the path of violence and dictatorship by turning its back on democracy and ignoring the will of its own citizens. The repression of the democratic uprising of its own citizens is not only a direct threat to Belarusian society but the very fabric of our values as Europeans. We must stand together against these types of assaults against democracy.
Since August 2020, more than thirty thousand people have been subjected to administrative arrests for participating in public events. 360 people that have received long prison terms have been recognised as political prisoners by international organisations. We cannot allow authoritarian regimes to gain more traction under the cover of COVID-19 safety measures.
Despite international outrage over the brutal crackdown by the Belarus government and its police force on its own citizens, government officials continue to defend these actions, with the Belarusian foreign minister, Vladimir Makei, stating that the use of force in anti-protest actions have been "absolutely adequate and necessary."
This is not the first time that a Green party member has been unlawfully detained by the authorities. This type of harassment against Green party members has been ongoing. Currently, other representatives of the Belarusian Green Party have concerns about their own safety. We consider this event as a further escalation of threats towards the party by Lukashenko's regime.
As the European Greens, we renew our calls for free and fair elections along with the Belarusian people and for the release of all peaceful protesters that have been unlawfully arrested since the beginning of the protests in Belarus. We ask that EU institutions closely monitor the situation and stand with human rights and democracy defenders everywhere in Europe.
Photo: Dzmitry Andreyeu / Alamy Stock Photo