Belarus: Release of political prisoner Natallia Hershe
Swiss and Belarus citizen, political prisoner Natallia Hersche was released after 17 months in the Belarusian prison. This was announced by Swiss President Ignazio Cassis in his Twitter account, having published a photo of Natallia Hersche with her brother and Swiss Ambassador to Belarus Christine Honegger:
Finally! Natallia Hersche was released today after 17 months of imprisonment in Belarus. She was welcomed by her brother and @SwissAmbBelarus and is now returning to #Switzerland. I’m glad that Switzerland’s diplomatic efforts have borne fruit.
Natallia Hersche was born in Belarus and is Swiss and Belarus citizen. Hersche participated in a rally against the regime of ruler Aleksandr Lukashenko in Minsk on September 19, 2020, was arrested and later sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
Natallia Hersche did not write a petition for pardon and has not admitted her guilt.
The release was preceded by intensive efforts of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and its head Cassis, which lasted almost a year and a half, the FDFA claims in a statement. The human rights organisation Libereco, which deals with political prisoners in Belarus, submitted a petition with 9,500 signatures to the FDFA following Hersche’s arrest.
The ISHR rejoices together with Natallia, her relatives and defenders! Welcome to freedom!
In Belarus, amid peaceful demonstrations in the summer of 2020, more than 1,000 citizens are under arrest for political reasons!