Amnesty International announces action to free Pavel Sevyarynets

International human rights organization Amnesty International has launched a call to send letters to Prosecutor General of Belarus Alyaksandr Kanyuk demanding to immediately release opposition politician Pavel Sevyarynets, its website reports.

“We have learned from reliable sources about the ill-treatment of Belarusian opposition veteran Pavel Sevyarynets, arrested on June 7. Pavel Sevyarynets is a prisoner of conscience, who should be immediately released without any conditions, but until then his safety and inviolability should be guaranteed,” said the human rights organization.

Amnesty International urges concerned citizens to send letters to Prosecutor General of Belarus Alyaksandr Kanyuk demanding to immediately release Pavel Sevyarynets. A sample letter can be found on the website of the organization.

Human rights activists remind that the Belarusian politician was already recognized as a prisoner of conscience in 2011 after the presidential elections.

“The attacks on the political opposition and civil society now and after the 2010 election are different. Now harassment began a few months before the election against the background of a record low, by all accounts, rating of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Belarus,” reads the statement of human rights defenders.

Amnesty International calls on the Belarusian authorities to “immediately stop the escalation of attacks on human rights,” release all detainees and bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations.

Pavel Sevyarynets has been behind bars since June 7. Since that day he’s had several more administrative arrests. During the trial on 18 June, he said that the day after his arrest he was thrown into a disciplinary cell: he can only lie down from 10 p.m. to 6 p.m., the room is 2 by 3 meters, and it is very cold. “They took toothpaste and a toothbrush away. There’s no water at all, it’s off. [So] I had to cut my veins in protest. It’s never been like this here,” he said. In protest against torture, Sevyarynets cut his hand.