STATEMENT OF THE BOARD OF THE BELARUSIAN REP TRADE UNION IN CONNECTION WITH THE DETENTION OF LEONID SUDALENKO
Belarusian authorities continue repressing activists of the independent trade union movement. Today, Darya Polyakova, the coordinator of the youth network of the REP Trade Union in the Brest Region, was sentenced to two years of freedom restraint.
On January 18, it became known about the detention of Leonid Sudalenko, an activist of the REP Trade Union, a lawyer and a human rights defender.
Leonid Sudalenko is a full-time employee of our independent trade union – he is a legal inspector for the Gomel Region. He has provided real and efficient legal help to many members of the REP Trade Union. Back on January 5, the Gomel union office located at No. 52 Polesskaya Street was searched and the union property was seized, namely: documentation of the regional REP organizations in the Gomel Region; records of membership fee payments for 2020, as well as funds (membership fees) received earlier; and other documents relating to the activities of the human rights defender. And yesterday, Leonid was detained and placed into a temporary detention facility (known as the IVS).
At the moment, it is known that Leonid was detained within the framework of a criminal case initiated under Article 342 of the Criminal Code of Belarus: “Organization and preparation of actions grossly violating the public order”. We may assume that they are trying to accuse Leonid Sudalenko of financing riots, since he had helped repression victims to pay their imposed fines.
Leonid had foreseen his detention and left an appeal for publication in mass media:
“Since last August, I also paid the fines and food bills put forward to detainees kept at the IVS, and, in some cases, state duties for the repressed protesters. As a legal expert, I haven’t any doubts about the legitimacy of such help, and I have no such doubts today.”
Today, it was also reported that another activist of the REP Trade Union in Gomel, Marina Tarasenko, was detained.
The Board of the REP Trade Union treats the detention of Leonid Sudalenko, as well as other activists of our union, as persecution of any dissent in the country, any aspiration for legality, truth and justice. The detention of Leonid Sudalenko and others is a continuation of repressions by the regime in relation to activists of independent trade unions, to the people who are not afraid to express their civil stand, and those who are ready to come to the aid of those whose rights have been violated.
Today Leonid Sudalenko needs such help and support.
We admire the courage of our colleague, fully support his position expressed in his appeal; we treat his detention as illegal, and demand the immediate release of Leonid Sudalenko and other activists!