Human rights groups call to release Babaryka campaign activists
The human rights organizations of Belarus insist on the immediate and unconditional release of Alena Karahachava and Dzmitry Karak, members of Viktar Babaryka’s campaign team.
The human rights community of Belarus has learned that on July 1, Alena Karahachava, a member of the nomination group and personal assistant to presidential nominee Viktar Babaryka, was arrested by the officers of the Department for Financial Investigations. According to available information, Karahachava is charged under Part 2 of Art. 243 (tax evasion in a particularly large amount). She is being held in the KGB pre-trial prison in Minsk.
Dzmitry Karaka, a coordinator of Viktar Babaryka’s nomination group, was arrested on June 18 together with head of the group Eduard Babaryka. Karak is detained in the KGB pre-trial prison since then.
From the very beginning, the presidential election has been marred by acts intimidation, threats and pressure, including against the direct participants of the campaign - presidential nominees and members of their nomination groups.
Given these circumstances, human rights defenders conclude that the real grounds behind the criminal prosecution of Viktar Babaryka and his campaign activists are political motives aimed at preventing the nominee’s running for President of Belarus.
Participation in governing the country through periodic, free and democratic elections is one of the freedoms guaranteed to the citizens of Belarus, by both the Constitution and international human rights standards, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
In this regard, we, representatives of the Belarusian human rights community, reaffirming our position set out in the statement on the arrest of Viktar Babaryka and several members of his nomination group of June 19, consider Alena Karahachava and Dzmitry Karaka as political prisoners and demand their immediate and unconditional release.