Since15 December 2020, Ihar Losik, a 28-year-old blogger from Belarus, has been in prison on a hunger strike. On 25 June 2020 he was arbitrarily detained on spurious charges because he was advocating for freedom of opinion and the press, for democracy and free elections in his country. He is threatened with many years of imprisonment, as are 189 other political prisoners in Belarus.
In view of Ihar Losik’s greatly deteriorating state of health, Petra Bosse-Huber, bishop for ecumenical relations and ministries abroad of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and vice-president of the EKD Church Office, states:
“I am greatly dismayed to see how the number of political prisoners in Belarus continues to increase. At present I am most concerned about the young blogger and activist Ihar Losik. Since 15 December 2020, i.e. for almost 40 days, he has been on a hunger strike and his situation is constantly deteriorating. Probably he no longer has much time to live. But Belarus needs courageous and upright people like Ihar Losik. He must be allowed to live – in freedom, with his wife and his little daughter. I pray for his release and the release of all detainees under arbitrary arrest from the Belarusian freedom movement. And I believe that God does not abandon us even in the deepest depths, but is on our side. May God also preserve Ihar Losik on his path for life and freedom.”
Background on Belarus
Presidential elections took place on 9 August 2020 in Belarus. Before that, Alexander Lukashenko, the authoritarian president who had ruled for 26 years, refused to allow opposing candidates to run and either had them imprisoned on spurious grounds or forced them to go into exile. International election observers were not admitted, civil society election observers from Belarus were massively obstructed and many were arrested. In connection with the protests, the forces of the regime temporarily detained about 30,000 people; thousands were severely maltreated or otherwise treated inhumanly and unlawfully. At present, according to Belarusian human rights organisation Viasna, 189 people have been arbitrarily detained as political prisoners. The EKD calls for solidarity with all detainees and is advocating for their release. More information at: www.100xSolidarität.de.
Hanover, 21 January 2021
EKD Press Office