Target: President Alexander Lukashenko
Goal: Drop charges of running an unregistered religious organization faced by the manager of a homeless shelter
A citizen of Belarus is facing a two-year prison term for operating an ‘unregistered’ religious organization. If he is jailed, he could be considered a prisoner of conscience. Aliaksei Shchadrou is a devout Catholic who was running a shelter for homeless people since late 2011. He provided those in need with food, clothing, a bed, and a place to the bathe. During the winters, he would provide space for up to 30 people in his home. He was recently charged with running an unregistered organization. This charge is against his right to freedom of association.
The charge states that Mr. Shchadrou was organizing at his place of residence an unregistered religious organization. This charge also implies a level of religious intolerance towards Mr. Shchadrou and his catholic beliefs. In his defense, Mr. Shchadrou maintains that the organization was more an act of charity than an organized effort to spread religion or provide real, lasting services to the homeless of the area.
As stated previously, this charge violates his freedom of association. The prosecutor in charge of the case must immediately throw out the charges against Mr. Shchadrou. Sign this petition and demand that the charges are thrown out and he is released immediately and unconditionally. The case against him is unconstitutional and violates the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Dear President Alexander Lukashenko,
The judicial branch in your country should immediately dismiss the recent charges of organizing a religious organization against Aliaksei Shchadrou. The charges are baseless as Mr. Shchadrou was merely providing acts of charity towards people that were in desperate need of a place to sleep and eat, especially in the cold of winter.
The charges violate Mr. Shchadrou’s freedom of association. It is also in violation of the United Nation’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. I ask that you immediately dismiss the case against him and allow his shelter to continue to help those in need.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons