European parliament to discuss sanctions against Belarus

The European Parliament will meet on January 12 to discuss possible sanctions against Belarus following a clampdown on protests against the results of the recent presidential polls, parliament chief Jerzy Buzek said on Thursday.

"The European parliament will examine the conduct and aftermath of the presidential elections including the excessive and disproportionate forces by the Belarusian authorities, the beating and detention of opposition presidential candidates and violence against journalists and civil society activists," he said.

"We will also discuss the possible further responses from the side of the European Union," Buzek added

He also called for the "immediate release of political prisoners and for an immediate end to the violence by the authorities."

Opposition candidates have been charged in connection with the street protests that broke out after President Alexander Lukashenko was declared the winner of polls in the former Soviet republic earlier this month. They could face up to 15 years in jail.

The opposition claimed the election was rigged to give Lukashenko a fourth straight term of office.

Lukashenko called the protestors "traitors" and accused them of receiving assistance from abroad in their attempts to "overthrow the state."

MOSCOW, December 30 (RIA Novosti)


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