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Belarus: PEN International expresses concerns over the detention of Belarusian PEN Centre member Aliaksandr Fiaduta

Friday 30 April 2021 - 1:10pm

Aliaksandr Fiaduta

Aliaksandr Fiaduta, member of the Belarusian PEN Centre and former aid to President Alexander Lukashenko, is being detained under Article 357.1 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (‘conspiracy or other acts committed to seize or hold state power in an unconstitutional manner’). Fiaduta stands accused of taking part in a US-planned ‘coup’ and ‘assassination attempt’ against Lukashenko and his family. No information other than official statements by the Belarusian and Russian authorities is currently available.

PEN International shares the Belarusian PEN Centre’s concerns over the detention of Aliaksandr Fiaduta and calls for him to be immediately granted access to a lawyer of his own choosing and to adequate health care. His right to a fair trial must be upheld.

The Belarusian PEN Centre’s statement, published on 14 April 2021, is as follows:

On April 12, Aliaksandr Fiaduta [Alexandr Feduta], a member of the Belarusian PEN Center, a writer, editor, journalist, political analyst, and literary critic (Ph.D. in Humanities with a degree in Literature), stopped communicating.

On April 13, Aliaksandr Fiaduta was detained in Moscow by the KGB of Belarus due to suspicion of committing a crime (Art. 108 of the CCP). The detention was reported by a state news agency citing the KGB.

In 1994, Fiaduta was an activist of Aliaksandr Lukashenko’s campaign team, and was later appointed head of the Public and Political Information Department of the Presidential Administration. He resigned in 1994 after the first cases of censorship in the press and published Lukashenko’s political biography.

During the 2010 presidential election, Fiaduta was a member of Uladzimir Niaklajeu’s electoral team. After the brutal dispersal of the peaceful demonstration at Independence Square, on December 20, he was arrested and placed in the KGB pre-trial detention center. He was recognized as a prisoner of conscience, a political prisoner. Fiaduta spent several months in the KGB detention center (called Americanka). During his detention, Alaksandr wrote the book American Poems, for which he won the Aleś Adamovič Award of the Belarusian PEN Center. Alaksandr writes op-ed articles in the independent Belarusian media.

The Belarusian PEN Center is deeply worried by the detention of Alaksandr Fiaduta and the circumstances of his detention. We call for strict adherence to procedural deadlines and actions, ensuring access to necessary medical care and access to a lawyer. The Belarusian PEN Center will closely monitor the development of the situation.

For further details contact Aurélia Dondo at PEN International, Koops Mill, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, UK Tel: +44 (0) 20 7405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 20 7405 0339 e-mail: Aurelia.dondo@pen-international.org