Belarusian human rights activist Nasta Loika || Photo credit: COE
On June 20, 2023, the Minsk City Court sentenced Anastasia (Nasta) Loika, civil society activist and human rights educator, to seven years in general security prison on charges of inciting “racial, national, religious or other social enmity or discord,” under the Article 130 of the Belarusian criminal code. The accusations were based on Loika’s participation in a 2018 report on human rights violations by the law enforcement against the government crackdowns against democratic opposition and civil society in Belarus.
Loika is a prominent Belarusian human rights educator and women’s rights activist. Her work analyzes repressive laws and advocates for immigrant and refugee rights in Belarus. She was first detained on 6 September, 2022, near the Minsk City Court, where she was present in support of human rights defender and European Humanities University (EHU) student Marfa Rabkova, who was sentenced that day to 15 years in prison. Loika was temporarily released on 5 October, 2022, only to be arrested again on 28 October. During the 58 days of administrative arrest, Nasta was tortured and denied medical care or legal counsel.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide (ESW) condemns the sentencing and unjustifiable harsh treatment of Nasta Loika, alongside other scholars, students, and civil society activists, who continue to struggle for freedom and democracy. ESW joins 16 international and Belarusian human rights organizations, which calls on the Lukashenko government to immediately release Loika and ensure her well-being and access to proper medical care, legal counsel, and family. We remain deeply concerned about the continual violations perpetuated by the Belarusian authorities against the rights of students and academics who remain committed to justice and democracy, and we condemn the arbitrary detention and inhumane incarceration of all who exercised their civic rights and liberties by participating in peaceful democratic protests. ESW calls upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights and academic freedom to strongly protest and condemn the actions of Lukashenko’s regime; and to appeal for Loika’s immediate and unconditional release. Previous articles on Belarusian violations of academic freedom and injustice by ESW can be found here.
Please send appeals to the following:
The Administration of the President
Of the Republic of Belarus
Reception of Citizens and Representatives of Legal Entities
Residence of the President
38 Karl Marx Street
Valentin Rybakov Permanent Representative of Belarus to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of Belarus to UN
136 E 67th Street, 4th Fl.
New York, NY 10065
Telephone: (212) 535-3420
Fax: (212) 734-4810