#FreeAndreiAndIrina

#FreeAndreiAndIrina

Andrei Aliaksandrau and Irina Zlobina are being held incommunicado in a Belarusian prison

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Belarusian journalist Andrei Aliaksandrau and his girlfriend Irina Zlobina were arrested in Minsk on 12 January 2021, and have been held incommunicado ever since.

Aliaksandrau is believed to have been charged with a public disorder offence relating to the ongoing protests against president Alexander Lukashenko, who has been condemned globally for rigging the 2020 presidential election.

Their arrest is part of a crackdown by the Lukashenko regime against the independent media and any form of dissent in Belarus.

Help us to demand that the Belarusian authorities release Andrei and Irina now.

Dear Mr Kubrakov

I am writing to you to express my concern about the arrest of a prominent Belarusian journalist and human rights defender Mr Andrei Aliaksandrau and his partner Ms Irina Zlobina.

The couple were arrested in Minsk on Tuesday, 12 January 2021. Mr Aliaksandru is believed to have been charged with a public disorder offence relating to the ongoing protests against president Alexander Lukashenko.

After his arrest police conducted a search at the offices of the independent BelaPAN news agency to look for evidence related to the criminal case against Mr Aliaksandrau. Mr Aliaksandrau is no longer a BelaPAN staff member, having left his post as deputy director in 2018. Nonetheless, several pieces of equipment were confiscated from BelaPAN’s offices, including personal computers.

I note that a video statement was released on 15 January 2021 by law enforcement officials in which it appears that Mr Aliaksandrau admits to the allegations. I am concerned that he might have been coerced by being tortured or ill-treated into making this statement. Please note that any evidence obtained by torture or ill-treatment is inadmissible in court. 

Mr Aliaksandrau is a long-standing champion of media freedom, having sought to uphold this fundamental right as a journalist, and through his work at freedom of expression NGOs including both Index on Censorship and ARTICLE 19. He also worked for the Civil Solidarity Platform, a network of civil society human rights organizations from the former Soviet Union.  

I am extremely concerned to learn that he is being detained as a suspect in a criminal public order case instituted by the Minsk Department of the Investigative Committee.

I ask you to immediately release Mr Andrei Aliaksandrau and Ms Irina Zlobina from their detention.  

Signed,

...

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About Andrei and Irina

Andrei is one of Belarus’s most prominent independent journalists. He is the founder of JournalBy.com and has worked for a wide range of Belarusian media, as well as leading media freedom programmes for ARTICLE 19 and Index on Censorship in the UK. Andrei also worked as a web editor for Civic Solidarity Platform, a platform of NGOs in the former Soviet Union. He is a lifelong fan of Liverpool Football Club and an even bigger fan of British pubs. Irina Zlobina, Andrei’s partner, also works as a journalist in Minsk.

About this campaign

This campaign has been set up by friends and former colleagues of Andrei. Many of us know him from when he worked at the freedom of expression organisations Index on Censorship and ARTICLE 19.

Contact

For media enquiries, or if you think you can help the campaign in any other way, contact:

[email protected]