June 10, 2021
Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko President of the Republic of Belarus Independence Palace, Parspiekt Pieramozcau Avenue Minsk, Republic of Belarus Fax: +375 17 226 06 10
Dear President Lukashenko:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers, and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for our colleagues all over the world.
This communication is in regard to the ongoing trial of eleven students, nine of whom are women, in the Saviecki District Court in Minsk. Additionally, Professor Volha Filatchankava, from the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics, is also being detained. These twelve people who participated in mainly peaceful demonstrations, are being accused of “organizing or preparing activities that gravely breach public order” (Part 1, Article 342 of the criminal code of Belarus). One of the students, Yana Arabeika, was taken from her dormitory on November 12, 2020. We do not believe that she, nor any of the other students, did any damage to public order whatsoever.
These people are being held under highly stressful circumstances; the press is not allowed to interview or even observe them, and they have had very little (if any) contact with their families. Their trial will continue for an unspecified amount of time. Therefore, we are concerned that they be treated with care for their physical and psychological well-being.
We ask that you take into consideration the lives that this unjust action continues to plague. In particular, we strongly urge that the arrest of these protesters be overturned, and that they be immediately released. Additionally, any punitive action such as expelling students from their respective universities, should be reversed as quickly as possible.
Sincerely, Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists