Opposition activists issue one more statement protesting recruitment of youths into army

Opposition activists have issued one more statement protesting the use of force to recruit three young opposition activists – Ivan Shyla, Zmitser Fedaruk and Franak Vyachorka – into the army.

They condemned the recruitment as an illegal act that discredits the military service and the idea that the defense of the Fatherland is the sacred duty and right of every citizen.

“Such actions revive the practice of political recruitment that was used by the regime of Russian tsars in the struggle against dissidents,” the statement reads.

They accused the authorities of turning the armed forces into an “instrument of political purges and crackdown on the opposition.”

They have called on the public and, in particular, military servicemen and doctors, “not to remain speechless hostages of political ends, but show firmness and prevent the Belarusian army from being turned into prison.”

The statement bears signatures of rights defender Aleh Volchak, Alyaksey Kavalets of former presidential candidate Alyaksandr Milinkevich’s Movement for Freedom, legal expert Hary Pahanyayla, and opposition politicians Ales Pashkevich and Mikalay Statkevich. They are all former military servicemen.