The oppression and intimidation of regime critics in Belarus continues unabated following the presidential elections which were marred by fraud. Dozens of people are still in custody. Most of them have been charged with inciting or organizing mass unrest.
Werner Hoyer, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement in Berlin today (7 January):
"The Belarusian leadership's unacceptable behaviour is removing it ever further from our basic European values. Together with our partners in the EU, we call again on the Belarusian authorities to release those who are still detained without delay and at long last to enter into a dialogue with the opposition. As a first step, they must allow prisoners to receive adequate medical treatment and unrestricted access to their lawyers. The EU must respond unequivocally to the incidents in Minsk. We are currently discussing the next steps with our European partners. Our deliberations are shaped by our aim of strengthening those forces in Belarus which stand for democracy and the rule of law."
The EU Political and Security Committee met today in Brussels. The EU member states reaffirmed their core demand for the release of the political prisoners and discussed various ways of strengthening civil society in the country. The Belarusian leadership was again called upon to reopen the OSCE Office in Minsk.