EU condemns imprisonment of Belarus opposition representative

EU Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton has said she deeply regrets the conviction and sentencing this week of a Belorusian opposition representative.

Vasil Parfyankow, a member of the electoral team of former presidential candidate Vladimir Nikliayeu, who participated in the demonstrations that followed the elections in Belarus, was sentenced to four years imprisonment by a Belarus court on 17 February.

"Political motives have no place in a legal process," a press release quotes her as saying. "Belarus should be mindful of its OSCE obligations and live up to international standards on democracy, rule of law and human rights."

Ashton went on to say that the EU continues to follow the post-election situation in Belarus closely, including the upcoming trials, and will continue to seek the release and rehabilitation of all those still in detention on political grounds.

"Furthermore, I strongly urge the Belarusian authorities to ensure a fair and public trial of all those facing charges for their role in the context of the 19 December 2010 presidential elections, including participation in post electoral demonstrations," she said. (ENPI Info Centre)


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