Several Belarusian democratic activists have sent a letter to Foreign Minister Sven Mikser (SDE) asking him to raise the subject of the people jailed in Belarus in the so-called “patriots' case”.
Citing publicly available information according to which Mikser was set to visit Belarus on May 23 and meet with his Belarusian counterpart, Vladimir Makei, the activists say that they would like to draw the Estonian minister's attention to a criminal case concerning Belarusian democratic activists, dubbed the "patriots' case" in the Belarusian independent press.
"You will have a conversation with Minister Vladimir Makei, who has always been the most pro-European member of the Belarusian government. Please raise the issue of the 'White Legion' in this conversation. We believe that Vladimir Makei will be able to convey to [President] Alexander Lukashenko that for him personally and for Belarus, from the European perspective, it is better to avoid fabricating this case and to guarantee its participants a fair and open trial. It is important that this trial was recognized by honest and open international human rights organizations," the letter reads.
The criminal case has been started against former members of the now defunct patriotic organization of the White Legion, active members of the state-registered Patriot military sports club, and social activists. The case was fabricated by the Belarusian KGB in order to solve a number of problems of Lukashenko's regime in domestic politics and international relations, the activists say.
At present 19 people associated with the White Legion case are held in Belarusian prisons. They remain under enormous pressure, and according to the latest information from Belarus, investigators use methods like the Soviet security forces applied them in the Second World War to obtain "correct" answers to their questions, the letter says.
The authorities are accusing the activists of being part of the "patriots' case" of plans to stage mass unrest in Belarus, which according to different sources may result in their getting jail sentences of three or five years.
The letter is signed by Andrei Obozov, civil activist and political refugee from Belarus, co-founder of the NGO Valgevene Uus Tee in Estonia; Andrei Berdnikov, Latvian civil activist and researcher; Siarhei Bulba, Belarusian civil activist and ex-leader of the White Legion; and Pavel Morozov, Estonian civil activist, political refugee from Belarus and co-founder of ARU TV.
Spokespeople for the Foreign Ministry told BNS on Friday that the minister's visit scheduled for May 23 had been put off for organizational reasons, and that a new date was to be agreed.
Editor: Dario Cavegn