U Athletes shares serious concerns expressed by the international community regarding the situation in Belarus. We stand in solidarity with nearly 700 athletes and other persons from Belarusian sport who have called for, among others, new elections, end to police violence and assistance to all victims of illegal actions of the regime in their open letter. The Free Union of Athletes has become a source of inspiration for the protests, despite the risks for their professional and personal situation and safety.
As the protests continue, participants are reportedly being arbitrarily detained by the police and subject to torture and other ill-treatment. Top basketball player Yelena Leuchanka was arrested at Minsk airport on 30th of September, while trying to leave the country for a scheduled medical treatment. She was sentenced for 15-day prison sentence, for violating an administrative code regarding the organization and holding of mass events.
We condemn the arbitrary and violent treatment of the protesters and using any other type of pressure or repressions, including sporting and economic, against the Belarusian athletes. We are dedicated to protecting and promoting the rights of all athletes in Europe and we are following this matter while cooperating with international player associations movement and human rights experts.
EU Athletes calls upon international organizations, governments the Olympic movement and sport organizations to demand and do everything in their power to assure:
- Immediate release of Yelena Leuchanka and closure of any proceedings against her.
- Respect and protection of the human rights of Belarusian athletes, including freedom of expression and freedom of association.
- That no athletes suffer any further sporting, legal or other retributions for their activism.
- Support the athletes’ demand for the full restoration of democracy, rule of law and human rights in Belarus.
Photo: Yelena Leuchanka, Instagram