Who is considered a political prisoner

Civil society representatives urged to pay attention to the actual number of people recognized as political prisoners. Today, human rights activists call 833 people as such. It is essential to revise this number because there are more such people. It is just that not all of them meet all the formal criteria. Representatives of civic initiatives speak of a real 1,021 people.

Protecting people who do not have the status of political prisoners, but are such, is especially important in the context of the ongoing terror in prisons and isolation wards. So often, public disclosure of the details of a criminal case or giving a person the status of a political prisoner becomes the only defense against the arbitrariness of security officials and warders. Although, sometimes, even this does not help.

Today, several hundred Belarusians "have not been recognized as political prisoners based on accusations of violence/crime against the person (against the security forces) or property." And the criteria for determining the status of a "political prisoner" "were not designed to function in a situation of forcible retention of power and legal default ... They must be recognized as political prisoners to provide them and their families with the necessary human rights and humanitarian support, as well as subsequent release and rehabilitation. ".

In this regard, representatives of civil society circulated their statements. Here are its basic principles:
  1. to provide visibility and public support to all victims who were deprived of it based on their lack of the status of "political prisoner";
  2. with the help of the status of political prisoners, give access to assistance, public protection, release, and subsequent rehabilitation;
  3. the current criteria for recognition of political prisoners were developed in different conditions and did not correspond to the situation of widespread violation of the law in Belarus and the impossibility of a fair trial;
  4. we do not develop new permanent criteria. We suggest taking a different approach for the current unprecedented situation.

The statement was signed by representatives of 14 public associations, organizations, initiatives, including "A Country to Live in" foundation.

More details on the text of the statement can be found here.
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Helps political prisoners and their families