On October 26, the Belarusian human rights community issued a joint statement on their recognising another nine persons as political prisoners, HRC Viasna reports.
The names of Aleh Filipau, Mikhail Prach, Valery Yasechak, Alyaksandr Zhdanau, Yauhen Shpilkau, Syarhei Khatskevich, Vadzim Tsishkevich, Adam Tsyaslyuk, Miraslau Fedarovich have been added to the list of prisoners of conscience.
The above mentioned persons were imprisoned for insulting the president, government officials (police officers), judges and state symbols, as well as the use of other permissible forms of expression. Seven human rights watchdogs consider their persecution and imprisonment to be politically motivated, as they are related to the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression.
They called on the Belarusian authorities to immediately release all political prisoners; take measures aimed at decriminalising defamatory offenses and abolishing articles of the Criminal Code that provide for liability for insulting the state, state symbols and officials, and terminate all previously initiated criminal cases under these articles; stop political repression.
As of November 4, there are 836 political prisoners in Belarus.