Film community issues urgent call for immediate release of WATCH DOCS Belarus Director

    After the detainment of WATCH DOCS Belarus Director Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorska for «financing riots», the international film community has issued a global call for her immediate release.

    Detained alongside other Belarusian human rights defenders (Natallia Trenina, Yuliya Semenchanka, Hanna Sakalouskaya, and Volha Shapakouskaya), The Human Rights Film Network and several film festivals have issued an open letter calling for their immediate release. The letter, addressed to the Belarusian authorities states (in part): «We urge the Belarusian authorities to immediate and unconditionally release our colleague Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorska and other human rights defenders, and to end acts of judicial harassment against them», said Florencia Santucho, Director of the Buenos Aires International Human Rights Film Festival.

    Also the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the International Federation for Human Rights and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), issued an urgent appeal strongly condemning the arrests and calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Hatsura-Yavorska and the other defenders.

    On 5 April, 2021. Hatsura-Yavorska, Semenchanka, Sakalouskaya, and Shapakouskaya were detained following their organisation of the «Machine breathes but I don’t» exhibition, which shed the light on the struggles of the medical personnel amid the COVID-19 crisis and the politicisation of healthcare in Belarus. The detainments come amid an ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders and organisations in Belarus.

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