PandaDoc Employees Arrested in Belarus After Founders Protest Against Violence
On August 13th, founder of PandaDoc, Mikita Mikado, launched an initiative focused on ending violence in Belarus and harnessing aid and support to the victims of the Belarusian Government. The initiative has helped dozens of Belarusian law-enforcing officials, who put themselves at the forefront of ending violence by refusing to follow orders to exercise force and violent persecutions.
On September 2, the Belarus Government ordered searches to be conducted at the Minsk office of PandaDoc. Four employees were detained with a criminal case initiated against them under part 4 of article 209 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus («Fraud»). The employees were accused of stealing 107 thousand Belarusian rubles (equating roughly $40 thousand) from the corporate accounts of the company in Minsk. Officials have reported that under the pretext of abusing their positions, these four employees have misappropriated the corporate funds and have caused damage to the State.
We stand behind these people and find these false accusations by the State of Belarus groundless and fabricated. The accusations against the employees of the PandaDoc divert attention away from an initiative that has been launched by Mikita Mikado, by potentially impacting on the company and its employees’ professional standing, their ability to get work, their relationships and their personal reputation. Given this, these false allegations that damage the lives and reputations of the innocent are a red herring. All the company’s activities in Belarus were always conducted in full compliance with the law. Several international audits and inspections by EY and other reputable companies over the last years have proven that the company adhered to all regulations and laws prevalent in Belarus.
Many Belarusian activists face prosecution and suppression as government tactics morph to help the current ruling political party stay in power. Recent events in Belarus have demonstrated that it is a common practice by Belarusian Government to oppress political opponents through false allegations. In this case, to silence PandaDoc’s founder and to stop his initiative, the authorities have taken four completely innocent people hostage.
The four imprisoned people are:
- Yulia Shardyko, Accountant
- Dmitry Rabtsevich, Director - Minsk office
- Viktar Kuushynau, Product Director
- Vladislav Mikholap, HR
Many of us around the world are dealing with the subject in some way or another, dealing with everything from full-blown autocracy to the rumblings of authoritarianism that we’re attempting to keep in check. We know that Yulia Shardiko, Dmitry Rabtsevich, Viktor Kuvshinov, Vladislav Mikholap are innocent and have become hostages of the situation. This could have happened in absolutely any company in Belarus. And that is why it is now very important to defend the PandaDoc employees.
At this time of crisis people are unable to fully exercise their democratic rights. Precision of police investigations, as well as the accuracy of judicial determinations of guilt are being heavily influenced and abused by the political party in power. We see an open neglect of the human rights and demonization of the people, whose views do not coalign with the views of the political monopolist that is the current Belarusian Government. The people who are really hurt in this struggle are the innocent, who have their image and character maligned. We ask you to help us voice a protest against people’s lives being used as a leverage.
What we ask of you in support of detained employees of PandaDoc, that are friends and family members for some of us:
- Sign a petition to release 4 Pandas here.
- Voice you thoughts and opinions in the press, media and social networks with the #SavePandaDoc tag.
- Help us spread our message by connecting and pitching us to relevant journalists to help us get more media coverage. Our contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We sincerely hope that attention of the media, the public, and all of those who stand behind Belarus will help our cause and our colleagues, friends and dear ones will be released.