The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International, meeting at its 77th World Congress in Belgrade, Serbia, 12 September to 18 September 2011 passed the following resolution:
On 19 December 2010, the day of the Belarusian Presidential Election, writer and presidential candidate Uladzimir Niaklajeu was maltreated and later kidnapped from hospital by the Belarusian KGB.
Held in KGB secret custody for several weeks without proper medical attention, and with his relatives not informed as to his whereabouts, he was then put under house arrest. In May 2011 Niaklajeu was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison.
Under a new law especially designed for silencing opposition voices he will not be required to enter prison. Instead he will live under surveillance and other restrictions under the terms of a two year suspension of the sentence. He now lives under constant threat of imprisonment and is denied the right to leave the country.
Belarusian PEN has elected its former president Niaklajeu as honorary president and has also nominated him as a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature. In Belarus Niaklajeu is one of the most important role models in the struggle against President Lukashenko’s ever more brutal and violent regime.
PEN considers the treatment of Uladzimir Niaklajeu as a crime against human rights and a disgrace unworthy of any state. PEN calls for the immediate rehabilitation of Uladzimir Niaklajeu, the lifting of all restrictions against him and that the Belarusian state gives him fitting compensation for the time spent in jail under appalling conditions.