Today, democracy faces big challenges across the globe, and autocracies are expanding their influence. According to estimates by the US government, there are more than 1 million political prisoners worldwide. Repressive regimes have been systematically muzzling independent voices, especially Russian and Belarusian authorities. According to the latest estimate by human right defender “Memorial”, Russia has 988 political prisoners. According to the human rights center “Viasna96”, Belarus keeps 1462 political prisoners behind bars. And these numbers are not final and constantly growing.
The European People’s Party is deeply concerned by the growing numbers of political prisoners, especially affiliated to our political family:
Belarus: Belarusian authorities keep in prison two of our party leaders - Pavel Seviarynets (BCD) and Mikhalai Kazlou (UCP) as well as Artsem Liabedzka, the son of prominent opposition leader Anatol Liabedzka. Furthermore, many other activists of our political family are imprisoned on politically motivated charges, among them Tatsiana and Dzmitry Kaneuski, Barys Kuchynski, Mikalai Artsiukhou, Ihar Salavei, Pavel Spiryn, Pavel Belavus, Pavel Mazheika, Aliaksandr Nahela, Andrus Asmalouski, Dziyana Charnushyna, Anton Babrou, Artur Smaliakou, Andrei Tolchyn and Vasil Paliakou. Vitold Ashurak died in prison in 2021.
Russia: The unlawful and long prison sentence of Sakharov Prize laureate and EPP merit award holder Alexei Navalny, Ilya Yashin and Vladimir Kara-Murza have no judicial ground and are aimed at silencing the opposition voices within the country. Alexei Navalny has been subjected to ill-treatment, including torture, arbitrary punishment, psychological pressure and has been deprived of the possibility to see his family for more than eight months.
Georgia: The former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has been in prison on politically motivated charges, he is deprived of proper medical care and his health condition has been alarmingly deteriorating.
Armenia: The imprisonment of Vice President of Republican Party of Armenia Armen Ashotyan, despite the lack of substantial evidence, is causing great concern to us. Mr. Ashotyan was deprived of communication with his family for more than two months; the court also denied the motion of his defence team to release him on bail, to place him under house arrest, as well as the personal guarantees from prominent CDI members.
The European People’s Party:
The EPP Manifesto, also adopted at the 2012 EPP Congress in Bucharest, outlines the basic principles of the Party summarising who we are, what our values are, what challenges are we facing and what vision we have for the future. The Manifesto was developed in parallel to the EPP Platform document within the EPP Working Group 1 for “European Policy”.
The Party Platform was developed in EPP Working Group 1 for “European Policy” chaired by EPP President Wilfried MARTENS ?and EPP Vice President Peter HINTZE. The Working Group consists of delegates of EPP member parties who prepared and worked?on this document for more than two years and received input?from the drafting committee as well as senior and young experts. The document was adopted at the 2012 EPP Congress in Bucharest, thus replacing the Basic Programme of Athens from 1992.