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Anarchists Komar and Yemelyanau recognized as political prisoners

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Ivan Komar and Mikita Yemelyanau in court / spring96.org

Seven human rights organizations of Belarus have recognized the anarchists Mikita Yemelyanau and Ivan Komar as political prisoners, the human rights center Viasna reports.

Human rights activists demand an immediate review of their court cases. A joint statement was signed by the unregistered human rights center Viasna, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, the Belarusian Documentary Center, the Legal Initiative, the Human Constanta establishment of the Advisory Center on current international practices and their implementation in law, the human rights initiative group Identity and Law and the Lawtrend Center for Legal Transformation.

As was previously reported, Yemelyanov and Komar were sentenced to seven years in a reinforced regime colony each. The court included an attack on the building of Minsk City Court (it was attacked with paint bulbs) and two attacks on the detention center 1 on Valadarski Street in Minsk (two Molotov cocktails were thrown there, the first time unsuccessfully). The damage to the court building was compensated (over 140 BYN), while the damage to the detention center building amounted to 1.48 BYN.

Yemelyanau did not deny his participation in all the actions. Komar stated that he did not take an active part in the attacks. He also reported ill-treatment and pressure on him to write a guilty plea.

"There has been no proper investigation with regard to Ivan Komar's statement about the use of psychological and physical pressure. The court did not suspend the case to clarify the ill-treatment at Komar's request. In such circumstances, the accuracy and admissibility of the evidence obtained through the interrogation of the accused, which then formed the basis of the verdict, is questionable," said the human rights defenders.

They believe that the Belarusian court violated Articles 7, 19 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. According to human rights activists, the punishment for anarchists was excessively harsh and disproportionate to what they had done. The human rights activists also think that punishment is related to the views and convictions of the guys.

In this regard, they recognized Yemelyanau and Komar as political prisoners.

"We consider it necessary to demand an immediate review of the sentence for Mikita Yemelyanau and Ivan Komar while preserving the right to a fair trial and elimination of these violations," reads the statement of human rights defenders.