The Human Rights Center "Viasna" urges the Belarusian authorities to immediately put an end to abuses against prisoner of conscience Andrei Sannikau and his family.
According to information received by the Human Rights Center "Viasna", the Department of Execution of Sentences of the Belarusian Interior Ministry ordered another transfer of political prisoner Andrei Sannikau from Babruisk penal colony to a penal colony in Vitsebsk region due to "threats to his life and health". However, for over 24 hours the lawyer and family of Andrei Sannikau were unable to obtain information on his exact whereabouts. It should be stressed that this was his second transfer, after he was transferred from Navapolatsk colony to Babruisk colony a month and a half before. Meanwhile, the transfer took several days, while his lawyers and family did not have any information on his health and whereabouts.
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" considers such actions by the Belarusian authorities as cruel and inhuman treatment and torture aimed at exercising psychological and physical pressure to force Mr. Sannikau to plea for President Lukashenka's pardon. These abuses against the prisoner and his family are an outrage against international human rights standards; in particular, the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Belarus.
Considering this, the Human Rights Center "Viasna" expresses its protest and calls upon the Belarusian authorities to:
1. immediately provide the family of Andrei Sannikau with information on his whereabouts and health; 2. promptly provide Andrei Sannikau’s lawyer with an opportunity to see his client; 3. immediately and unconditionally release Andrei Sannikau and other prisoners of conscience.
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" stresses the personal responsibility of Interior Ministry officials for the life and health of Andrei Sannikau, as well as other political prisoners, and demands not to execute the orders that are deliberately criminal in their essence.