Human rights defender Nasta Lojka was detained in Minsk city court following a hearing in the so-called “Revolutionary Action” group case. The reasons for her detention remain unknown.
Nasta Lojka has already been subjected to political persecution for her human rights activism – since August 2021, she remains a suspect in a criminal case, related to the activities of Human Rights Center “Viasna”. Yet, Nasta continues to work with the issues of the repressive “anti-extremist” legislation in Belarus, protection of foreign citizens and stateless persons in Belarus, informal human rights education. Her detention is yet another example of repressions against human rights defenders in Belarus.
In the course of the hearing, which Nasta attended, human rights defenders and activists (Danila Chul, Andrei Marach, Pavel Shpetny, Mikita Dranets, Aliaksandr Kazlianka, Andrei Chapiuk, Aliaksei Halauko, Marfa Rabkova, Akikhiro Hayeuski-Hanada, and Aliaksandr Frantskevich) were sentenced to terms of 5 to 17 years of imprisonment.
According to the witnesses, simultaneously with Nasta’s detention, relatives of political prisoners, sentenced to imprisonment, as well as diplomatic personnel, attending the trial, were detained.
Human Constanta condemns in the strongest terms the persecution of Belarusian civil society representatives – whether by means of politically motivated sentences or arbitrary detentions. By persecuting human rights defenders for performing their professional duties Belarus violates the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Declaration on human rights defenders), OSCE Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, OSCE Joint Guidelines on Freedom of Association.
Therefore, we, the members of Human Constanta team, demand that the state authorities of the Republic of Belarus:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Nasta Lojka and ensure her access to effective legal remedies against groundless criminal prosecution.
- Immediately cease persecution and pressure on civil society, including criminal prosecution of human rights defenders and civil society activists in connection with their lawful professional activities – conducting educational events, providing free legal assistance and other forms of support to victims of human rights abuses.
- Immediately free all political prisoners and end serious violations of human rights in the country.
- Ensure non-interference into lawful human rights work, end intimidation and discreditation of human rights defenders and civil society activists.
- Fulfill its international human rights obligations.
As we have done before, we call upon international organizations to publicly express their position and assessment regarding the arbitrary detention of Nasta Lojka, as well as persecution of representatives of Belarusian human rights and civil society.
We also call upon the international community to make use of all available international accountability mechanisms to put an end to repressions in Belarus.