SPM activists demand to release their colleague from custody
Belarusian authorities continue persecuting the trade union activists, who took part in preparation and holding of people's assemblies on October 8, where participants demanded to address economic problems and regulate labour relations in a civilized manner. Three weeks after the action, Valery Rybchenko, an activist of the Free Trade Union of Metalworkers (SPM), was arrested in the city of Zhlobin and sentenced to 14 days of imprisonment.
Activists of the SPM have voiced their protest against severe repressions, harassment and intimidation of Valery Rybchenko and demanded his immediate release.
"Our comrade Valery Rybchenko, a member of the Free Trade Union of Metalworkers, was unfairly and unlawfully convicted and thrown into jail. The authorities are trying – by means of brutal repressions and persecutions – to silence those union activists who protest against the mismanagement of the national economy, low wages and pensions, rising prices and plummeting living standards of all the citizens, except for top-ranking state officials," runs the statement of the SPM Trade Union.
"The bankrupt authorities try to reload the responsibility for their economic and financial collapse, heinous errors and lack of professionalism on the workers, by worsening their social position and reducing social benefits. Valery Rybchenko and other comrades stood against all that," SPM activists declare and demand immediate release of their comrade.
They urge international trade union organizations to support their protest.
As reported by the «Ðàäû¸ Ñâàáîäà», Valery Rybchenko said before he was sentenced that the authorities were persecuting the organizers of the People's Assembly because they "fear that masses of people will ask from them for painful problems – rapid increase in prices on foodstuffs, consumer goods, fuel and utilities. By means of arrests and fines, the authorities are trying to sow fear in the society and thus prevent truly mass demonstrations in support of worthy life."
Valery Rybchenko was taken away from the courtroom by two militiamen, who were to convoy him to the Gomel IVS (temporary detention facility) and put behind bars for the next two weeks.