Freedom to political prisoners in the countries of former USSR: Statement of ADC Memorial

In 1974 the 30th day of October was declared the Day of political prisoners in USSR. 37 years have passed, and many things have changed. The USSR does not exist anymore, but political repressions still take place in the countries of the former Soviet Union. It means that October 30 is not only the day to remember the victims of the past, but also fight for the rights of political prisoners in the present.
This problem is central in Belarus: on November 2 the court proceedings on the case against Ales Bialiatski, the head of the human rights centre “Viasna” and vice-president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), will start.He has been in detention over last three months, accused in concealment of income as he received funds for human rights activities on the acounts in foreign banks.

Criminal prosecution of the human rights activist for his professional activities is a clear example of new political repressions in Belarus. Fight against such repressions in the Soviet Union united different people, solidary with many Soviet prisoners of conscience. Nowadays fight against persecution of Ales Bialiatski and other human rights activists in Belarus unites thousands of people all over the wrold.

In 2011 various opponents of Lukasheko’s regime – representatives of opposition parties and youth movements, former candidates for presidents in 2010 and anarchists – were sentenced for many years. All of them should be considered political prisoners. Not only measures taken and terms of punishment are cruel and groundless, but also the confinement conditions are absoluetly inadmissable: people are tortured, no medical aid is given, threats and moral coersion are practised.
At the same time, more repressive laws were passed: on October 3, 2011 the Belarusian parliament has adopted amendments to the law “On mass events” prescribing administrative liability for unauthorised actions as well as for “mass inactiity”. Thus, any expression of someone’s opinion is forbidden now in Belarus.

Belarusian legislators also changed the law “On state security agencies of the Republic of Belarus”. According to the new version of the law, the Committee for State Security (KGB) has a right to access to any place at any time. The workers of KGB do not bear responsibility for violence actions, even use of guns.

Even almighty KGB in the USSR did not have such powers. It is clear that international community as well as every conscientious and partial person should react clearly to this impossible, as we thought, attack against human rights in Europe of the 21st century. Everyone has to condemn the regime in Belarus, and fight for the revocation of these repressive laws and amendments, release of political prisoners and observe the rights of the citizens of Belarus to the freedoms of expression, assembly and public organisations. So far the Russian Federation has not reacted in a clear way to the violations of these rights in the country, part of our United State.

The state of affairs is similar to that of Uzbekistan where human rights activists and opposition have been persecuted for many years. Hundreds of people accussed for their political believes, among them 13 human rights activists, sentenced for their professional activities are detented in the prisons and camps. Tortures, violence and lack of medical help are being practiced in all penal institutions of Uzbekistan. Only actions of international solidarity and demands to free political prisoners can help Uzbek human rights activists to be released.

Last year the situation in Kyrgyzstan became even worse. The fall of the previous regime in 2010 and the come of the new power caused real pogroms and inter-ethnical conflicts in the south of the country. During these conflicts hundreds Kyrgyz citizens of the Uzbek origin have died. The fact of mass murders of the Uzbeks were not admitted and investigated by the state. On the contrary, all those who talk about the crimes against the Uzbek population have been persecuted and some of them have already received life sentence. Repressions in Kyrgyzstan are piolitical and ethnical, absolutely inadmiisable accroding to the international and local laws.

The position of the strongest and biggest country in the region – the Russian Federation – does not help to advocate for the rights of the victims of political repressions in the neighbouring countries , but, de facto, favours these repressions: political refugees are given away to tortures and inhuman laws, arrested in Russian cities and exctradited, sometimes people are allowed to be “kidnapped” in the territory of Russia and taken out of the country.

At the same time, the number of political prisoners in Russia is increasing, all kinds of disaffection, critics of the power and opposition movements are oppressed.

October 30 is still the day of political prisoners of the former USSR – the day of fight and solidarity. 

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