Belarusian activists has been released from detention after a week, but there are still many behind the bars

4. 4. 2017 - MINSK/PRAGUE

Activists from the Belarusian non-governmental organization EcoHome, Marina Dubina, Xenie Maljukova, and Alena Dubovik have been released from detention after one week. The police arrested them because of their participation in the allowed demonstration against the new Decree of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, which should punish parasitism. Many people remain behind bars, especially journalists-- Kristyna Chernyavskaja is there too. Police arrested her, and packed clothes for detained activists.

"In Belarus, there was no frontal violence against citizens for many years. Therefore, the EU canceled its economic sanctions. For the last two years, the former Soviet Republic began to converge with Europe again and it seems that the totalitarianism is finally getting weaker. As soon as the new mass protests appeared, the regime responded as it used to: common and brutal violence," Martin Skalský, head of NGO Arnika's Center for Citizens' Support, says.

Tens of NGOs from around the world joined and signed to support imprisoned activists and other oppressed citizens. In addition to the release of unjustly convicted activists, the letter requires the restoration of the freedom of assembly, expression, and the practice of arbitrary detention of citizens by different police units.

"We believe that solidarity from other countries did little to imprisoned activists," Skalsky believes. Therefore, Arnika launched an annual project to help local civic activists and use legal procedures for defending the people's right to live in a clean environment. The project is financed by the Czech Foreign Ministry. We will focus especially on rural regions, where the situation is much worse than in cities," Skalsky adds.

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