European Parliament Condemns the Treatment of Prisoners in Belarus

European Parliament adopted on 10 March a resolution regarding the human rights situation in Belarus, in particular the cases of presidential candidate Ales Michalevic and opposition activist Natalia Radin. [:]

Mr Ales Michalevic, a former presidential candidate was imprisoned in the aftermath of the post-election protests and released on 26 February 2011 after signing a commitment to collaborate with the Belarusian KGB. He has since publicly renounced the signature. On 28 February 2011 Mr Mikhalevic issued a statement giving an account of the mental and physical torture to which the political prisoners were subjected in order to coerce them to confess and accept evidence of their guilt. Ms Natalia Radina, the editor of the opposition Charter 97 website, was also arrested in December 2010. After her release she reported that during the detention KGB officers had subjected her to psychological pressure and attempted to recruit her as a KGB informant.

In the resolution the European Parliament condemned the use of torture against Ales Mikhalevic, a former presidential candidate, as a form of inhuman treatment that is unequivocally forbidden in international law and is absolutely unacceptable in a European country that is one of the EU’s closest neighbours.

Members of the European Parliament called in particular for the immediate and unconditional release of all of the protestors detained in December 2010 following the presidential elections and condemned the dismissal of lawyers brought on charge of mass riot.

The resolution furthermore calls on the Council, the Commission, the EU High Representative and other EU partner countries to consider extending the restrictive measures to cover prosecutors, judges and security representatives connected to human rights abuses in Belarus and consider that the Council should examine the possibility of introducing smart and targeted economic sanctions on Belarus government owned companies.