As of May 14, 2023, 1,483 persons were recognized as political prisoners in Belarus.
At least 6 of them are attorneys.
All the attorneys declared political prisoners ended up in captivity because of the desire to help their clients despite intimidation, pressure and reprisals. All of them participated in political processes, and defended political prisoners, resulting in them becoming ones. All of them, as well as every person from the list of political prisoners, should be released and rehabilitated, and criminal cases against them should be reviewed and terminated.
Unfortunately, political prisoners now face unjustified and severe restrictions on their right to correspondence, and in some cases, relatives and attorneys can’t reach them for months, which is a gross violation of both international standards and national legislation. But despite all this, we are convinced that even without quick direct communication with them, we should still support them and remind others about them as often as possible.
The Belarusian Association of Human Rights Lawyers together with the project "Right to Defence" in advance of the Political Prisoner Day, which is held every year on May 21, invites you to join the "Write to an attorney!" action.
As part of this action, we ask everyone who cares about the fate of attorneys in custody, regardless of whether you were their clients, friends or colleagues — or didn’t know each other personally, to write an open letter to one or more of them, posting it on a particular social network with the hashtag #напішыадвакату (write to an attorney in Belarusian). Alternatively, if public posting may be dangerous for you, you can send your letter to the Association's email address (belarusianCIL@proton.me ) or to the email of the "Right to Defence" project (firstname.lastname@example.org) without specifying your name, so that you can preserve your anonymity. On May 21, we will publish all the anonymous letters received and all the letters will be transferred to relatives of the attorneys held in custody.
At the moment, attorneys held in custody for political reasons are:
- Maxim Znak (on September 06, 2021, a sentence of 10 years in prison was passed);
- Alexander Danilevich (on April 10, 2023, a sentence of 10 years in prison was passed);
- Vitaly Braginets (on February 02, 2023, a sentence was passed — 8 years in prison);
- Anastasia Lazarenko (on May 11, 2023, a sentence of 6 years in prison was passed);
- Yulia Yurgilevich (detained on August 30, 2022; as of today, the case has not yet been considered);
- Alexey Borodko (detained in January 2023, the trial began on May 15).