Tatiana Kouzina was detained at the Minsk Airport incommunicado for hours on June 28th. On July 14th she was charged with “conspiracy or other acts committed to seize or hold state power, and of calling to perform acts detrimental to national security.” These charges would carry up to 12 years in prison. She is now under a two month detention. It appears that her charges are in retaliation for freedom of expression.
August 4, 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 colleagues all over the world.
This communication is in regard to Tatiana Kouzina. On June 28th, she was detained at the Minsk airport passport control on her way to Georgia on unknown charges and without allowing for communication with anyone else for several hours. On July 14th, the charges were declared to be “conspiracy or other acts committed to seize or hold state power and of calling to perform acts detrimental to national security” for which she faces up to 12 years in prison. In the meantime, she is now under a two-month detention.
Kouzina, who holds an MA in Political Science, is the co-founder and researcher at the School of Young Managers in Public Administration in Belarus. She previously lectured at the European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania (formerly in Minsk) where she served as Deputy Dean of the Franco-Belarusian Faculty of Political and Administrative Sciences and headed the Office of Public and International Relations.
The Committee is concerned that the charges against Kouzina are brought in retaliation for the nonviolent exercise of the right to freedom of expression and are part of a recurring pattern of arbitrary arrests in Belarus intended to silence any potential criticism. Her arrest is a setback for the future of public administration studies in Belarus.
We write to urge you to ensure that Kouzina is treated fairly, that she is provided with adequate medical treatment, and regular access to family and independent legal representation, that are not bound by nondisclosure agreements. We further urge that whatever legal proceedings are held in her case meet international standards for fair trials, including not being held behind closed doors. If the charges are simply political in origin, she must be released immediately and unconditionally.
Thank you for your attention to this serious matter. We will be closely following developments in this case.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Antony J. Blinken
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520 USA
Phone: (202) 647-4000