Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт

Andrei Novikau called eighth political prisoner in Tsikhanouski case

Andrei Novikau. Photo: Radio Racyja
Andrei Novikau. Photo: Radio Racyja

Representatives of the country’s leading human rights organizations, including Viasna, have named Andrei Novikau, volunteer of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s nomination team, another political prisoner after on June 12 he faced official charges of “disturbing public order” during an election picket on May 29 in Hrodna.

The human rights defenders call to immediately release the activist and drop the criminal charge he is facing.

Earlier, Viasna and several other human rights groups issued a statement to call seven persons held in the Hrodna case political prisoners. These include Siarhei Tsikhanouski, popular blogger and head of his wife Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s nomination group.

The activists were accused of “group actions that violated public order”. Two of them faced additional charges of using violence against police officers.

A Russian national living in Belarus, Andrei Novikau was arrested on June 6. Three days later his apartment was searched by the police.

Following the arrest of her campaign activists, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was forced to suspend her nomination activities due to “possible provocations by the law enforcement agencies and increased pressure and repression” against members of her nomination group.