Jagland reacts to sentencing of opposition activist in Belarus

Strasbourg, 18.02.2011 – "Reducing the opposition to silence and ignoring basic democratic principles will not help President Lukashenka and the Belarusian authorities to gain legitimacy or credibility among the international community," said Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland today.

His statement followed the sentencing of Vasil Parfiankou to 4 years imprisonment, at the end of the first in a series of trials of people arrested during the demonstrations that took place in Belarus after the contested 19 December 2010 presidential elections.

Secretary General Jagland reiterated the Council of Europe's insistence that the Belarus authorities immediately release presidential candidates, journalists and human rights activists arrested in the wake of the presidential elections, and put an immediate end to the oppression of the democratic political opposition, the independent media and civil society.

"I am particularly concerned that the long sentence handed down to Mr Parfiankou bodes ill for the forthcoming trials of the detained presidential candidates. The Council of Europe will be watching closely to see how the authorities treat the leaders of the democratic forces jailed since the demonstrations in Minsk; the imposition of harsh sentences would be a clear signal of the government's refusal to commit itself to upholding basic democratic standards and fundamental human rights," said Mr Jagland.

Council of Europe Directorate of Communication
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11
[email protected]


News of Belarus

Tough sentences announced to Brest antifascists

A verdict was delivered today in the case of Brest antifascists acused of participation in a group fight with neonazis which happened on May 8, 2013.

Antifascists were tried under the art. 339.3 (malicious group hooliganism) and 147.2 (malicious bodily harm). The case was qualified as malicious due to the fact of pepper spray usage in the fight.

Dzmitry Stsyashenka got 5 years of penal colony with reinforced regime (339.3) and 500 euro of damages to be paid to the injured nazis.

Exclusive: European Union moves to suspend sanctions on Belarus

The European Union is likely to lift some sanctions on Belarus, including its travel ban on President Alexander Lukashenko, after he freed a group of political prisoners last month, diplomatic sources say.

An arms embargo against the former Soviet republic would remain. But in an overture to the man the West calls Europe's "last dictator", diplomats are looking at suspending visa bans and asset freezes on most of around 200 people under sanctions for rights abuses, some since disputed elections in 2004.