The UN Human Rights Council demanded the release of Siarhei Tsikhanouski

Photo: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's press office
3 mins

На русском языке: Совет по правам человека ООН потребовала освободить Сергея Тихановского
На беларускай мове: Савет па правах чалавека ААН запатрабаваў вызваліць Сяргея Ціханоўскага

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s Telegram channel, citing the Viasna human rights center, reports that the UN working group on arbitrary detention demanded the release of Siarhei Tsikhanouski. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is a legal mechanism established by the UN Human Rights Council. The group consists of five legal experts who can consider individual complaints and make decisions, giving the State the opportunity to express its position.

According to the complaint filed by Sergey Tihanovsky’s lawyers, the UN Working Group came to the conclusions:

  • Tsikhanouski was detained on trumped-up charges;
  • He was first denied access to a lawyer, then the confidentiality of communication with a lawyer and the presumption of innocence were violated, and the trial takes place behind closed doors;
  • The deprivation of liberty of Siarhei Tsikhanouski is contrary to articles 2, 7, 9, 10, 11, 19, 20, 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 2 (1), 9, 14, 19, 21, 25 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
  • The case was recognized as persecution of a political opponent, which means that no trial in the Tsikhanouski case should have been held;
  • Tsikhanouski must be released immediately.

It is important that representatives of the regime participated in the procedure for the work of the UN group, thereby showing that they recognize its competence. On May 14, 2021, the Working Group sent a message to the Government of Belarus concerning Siarhei Tsikhanouski. The Government of Belarus responded on June 24. In the message, the Working Group stressed that if the source (Tsikhanouski’s defense) provided sufficient evidence of violations during illegal detention, the state should prove his guilt — if it intends to refute these allegations.

On September 6, 2021, the Working Group handed over a decision demanding Tsikhanouski’s release to the UN Special Rapporteurs who deal with human rights issues in Belarus, as well as to representatives of the regime. They need to answer to this appeal.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya commented on this decision: «I thank Siarhei’s ex-lawyer Natalya Matskevich for appealing to the UN and the Working Group itself for the decision in the case of my husband. Like all Belarusians, I did not doubt his innocence for a second. Siarhei is in prison only because he was a strong leader. He was stripped of his lawyer during the trial, just because the prosecution is crumbling. We know it, the UN knows it, the person who lost the elections and holds power by violence knows it. He saw Siarhei, talked to him, looked into his eyes. And I am convinced that the fabricated trial behind closed doors is a reaction to the force that he saw in the eyes of Siarhei Tsikhanouski».

More information is available on the website of the human rights center Viasna.

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