2010: Belarus: Vladimir Neklyayev

June 3rd 2010

President Mr. Alyaksandr Lukashenka
220016, ul. Karla Marxa 38, Minsk

e-mail: pres@president.gov.by

Your excellency,

Writer Vladimir Neklyayev

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International deeply deplores the arrest of writer Vladimir Neklyayev, among scores of other members of civil society groups. WiPC considers the arrests to be in clear violation of the right to freedom of expression and association and we strongly call for their release.

Mr Neklyayev is the leader of the organisation Speak the Truth and was the President of the Belarus PEN Centre from 2005-2009. The police is reported to have cracked down of the homes of members of peaceful society groups in several cities across the country, including the Speak the Truth office in Minsk.

We are very worried about the detentions of Vladimir Neklyayev, Sergei Voznyak and Andrei Dmitriyev and strongly appeal to Your Excellency to end the arrest of these and other writers and journalists who are held in violation of their rights and an end to further harassment and attacks on the independent media.

We would like to point out that the prosecution of these individuals are in direct violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Belarus is a signatory.

Yours sincerely

Aase Gjerdrum
member, Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN