ASEEES Statement on the Detention of Academic Researcher Vitali Shkliarov
Published on October 23, 2020
The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) appeals to the authorities in Belarus for the immediate release of Vitali Shkliarov, a member of our organization. Mr. Shkliarov, who holds both Belarusian and US citizenship, was traveling to Belarus with his 8 year old son in order to visit his critically ill mother. He was arrested on July 29, 2020 yet no concrete and credible evidence was presented to justify his arrest. Since then he has been held in brutal conditions that are unacceptable in the view of at least two UN human rights treaties that Belarus has ratified: International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). The apparent motivation for his detention is the fact that he has written critically about the authoritarian tactics of the Belarusian government. We are gratified that his arrest has generated bipartisan condemnation from United States officials, but deeply concerned that despite international outrage, he has not yet been freed. Mr. Shkliarov was scheduled to participate in our association’s convention in November, and we continue to hold out hope that the Belarusian authorities will make this possible by expediting his immediate and unconditional release.