There are now 566 recognized prisoners of conscience in Belarus, reports Viasna.
On July 9, the KGB detained the volunteers of the foundation “Country for Life,” Maryna Dubrouskaya, Anton Stasheuski, Yulia Syrykh, and Tatsiana Astrouskaya. They are accused of financing the activity of an extremist formation (part 2 of article 361-2 of the Criminal Code). This provides a punishment of five to eight years in prison. All four were taken into custody in detention center No. 1.
The Belarusian human rights community recognized Dubrouskaya, Stasheuski, Syrykh, and Astrouskaya as political prisoners.
“It is a vicious practice to accuse volunteers who carry out humanitarian and charitable activities to help victims of human rights violations of financing extremist fomenting. We note once again that volunteer activities to help victims of political repressions have nothing to do with extremist activities, are not financing them, are exclusively peaceful in nature, and therefore pursue entirely legitimate goals. Such activities can not be a priori criminalized, as they are not of a socially dangerous nature,” reads the joint statement of the human rights defenders.
They also noted that the Constitution of Belarus guarantees every citizen the freedom of association with other persons to realize common goals. They demand the immediate release of these and all political prisoners.