Today, one year since the detention of Andrei Aliaksandrau and Irina Zlobina, Index on Censorship and ARTICLE 19 are launching a campaign aimed at amplifying calls for their immediate and unconditional release. Andrei and Irina have been behind bars since 12 January 2021, when they were detained and imprisoned for their defence of fundamental human rights.
A journalist and human rights defender who previously worked at both Index on Censorship and ARTICLE 19, Andrei is now facing charges of “treason to the state”. The charges stem from allegations that he paid the fines of journalists and protestors detained during the pro-democracy protests that were triggered by the highly disputed 2020 presidential election. Belarusian law enforcement agencies erroneously equate this with financing unlawful protests. If convicted, Andrei will face up to 15 years in prison.
“Thanks to you, and other good people, my conscience is clear,” he wrote to a friend last year.
His partner, Irina was also detained “on suspicion of financing protest activities” and has since been charged with “organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order”. She is facing up to three years in prison.
“We invited journalists, human rights defenders, press freedom activists and friends of Andrei and Irina to record short video messages for the campaign. Those videos will be shared on social media in the coming days,” ARTICLE 19 and Index on Censorship said. “As Andrei’s former colleagues, we want as many people as possible to know how incredibly kind and generous he and Irina are, and to understand the unfathomable injustice they are both facing at the hands of the Belarusian authorities.”
We urge you to help us call for their immediate and unconditional release by joining our campaign:
- Sign the petition to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Andrei and Irina.
- Share ARTICLE 19 and Index on Censorship’s campaign posts on social media.
- Use the hashtags #FreeAndrei, #FreeIrina, #FreeAndreiAndIrina to post messages of support.