Amnesty International Ready to Recognize Mikita Sasim Prisoner of Conscience
28/04/2006 The human rights organization Amnesty International has called upon the human rights organizations and common citizens al over the world to take part in the campaign in support of Belarusian leader Mikita Sasim. The AI has stated that if he is sentenced AI will consider him a prisoner of conscience. Belarusian youth leader, Mikita Sasim, is currently being detained in Baranavichy pre-trial detention centre 6 in Belarus. On 4 May, he will be tried in the court of Baranavichy on charges of draft evasion, for which he faces up to three years` imprisonment. The status of the prisoner of conscience is granted to persons persecuted on political grounds. Hundreds of participants of protest actions suppressed by Belarusian authorities: the leader of Belarusian vendors Valery Levaneuski, former MP Andrei Klimau, the chairman of the Belarusian Social Democratic party (Narodnaya Hramada) Mikola Statkevich, sentenced to restriction of freedom, the leader of the Young Front Paval Sevyarynets and many other Belarusians repressed for their fight for freedom have been recognized as prisoners of conscience.
The letter of the AI representative, campaigner for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine Aisha Jung reads:
“Belarusian youth leader, Mikita Sasim, is currently being detained in Baranavichy pre-trial detention centre 6 in Belarus. On 4 May, he will be tried in the
court of Baranavichy on charges of draft evasion, for which he faces up to three years` imprisonment. Mikita has expressed his willingness to do his military service and Amnesty International believes that his arrest is the latest incident in a series of actions by the Belarusian authorities aimed at intimidating Mikita Sasim because of his political activities. If he is sentenced AI will consider him a prisoner of conscience.
Mikita Sasim was arrested on 14 March, five days before the presidential elections in Belarus. He was reportedly seized by security forces in the street in Minsk and taken to a police station where, as a result of ill-health, an ambulance was called. That night, Mikita Sasim was operated on for appendicitis and the following day he was reportedly transferred, handcuffed, to Baranavichy prison, where he was chained to a bed which was guarded by a policeman. After a week, Mikita Sasim was reportedly transferred to the pre-trial detention centre, where he has been since.
At a peaceful demonstration in September 2005, Mikita Sasim tied his denim shirt to a flag pole after security forces had confiscated the banners and flags being used by the demonstrators. In response, Mikita Sasim was reportedly beaten by the security forces so badly that he spent a week in hospital recovering. He was subsequently granted a deferment of military service due to the brain injury that he had incurred as a result of the beating. Mikita Sasim`s peaceful act of defiance, which led to his beating, inspired the adoption of denim blue as a symbol of freedom and liberation by Belarusian civil society. The same colour was subsequently adopted by the political opposition in the run up to the presidential elections to the extent that even the international media began to refer to `the denim revolution`.
Please send cards and letters of support and solidarity to Mikita Sasim in the days leading up to his trial on 4 May. You can write in Belarusian, Russian, English or your own language. Your good wishes will be an invaluable source of support and strength for Mikita Sasim at this difficult time. Please send
your greetings to:
Cell 8, Pre-trial detention centre No. 6
Brestskaya Street, 258a
Brest region 225320
For further information on Mikita Sasim please see AI UK`s Individuals at Risk case-sheet at: amnesty.org.uk