"We are particularly concerned about the constraints, faced by the political opposition and civil society in Belarus. The sentences, passed upon the post-election protestors, are excessive. They show no respect for basic rights to freedom of assembly and expression, and cultivate an atmosphere of fear and self-censorship in the media and among civil society in the country," says Petros Efthymiou.
He also called again upon the official Minsk to reconsider its decision to close the OSCE office because, in his opinion, "the resolution of several human rights defenders to monitor the courts cannot substitute for the presence of OBSE in the country."
Kiev Urged Minsk for Dialogue with Opposition
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry urged the Belarusian authorities to start a dialogue with the opposition. "We have appealed and will appeal to our Belarusian partners to return to a constructive dialogue with the opposition, to make practical steps towards guaranteeing freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and other civil liberties and rights," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.
"We are disturbed by the sentence upon a well-known diplomat, politician and public figure, Andrei Sannikov, and his wife Irina Khalip," said the director of Information Policy of the Department Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Oleg Voloshin, ZN.UA.
Meanwhile, Ukraine will continue to oppose the political isolation of Belarus, calling for dialogue with the Belarusian government on the issue of respect for democratic rights and values.
Lukashenko Lost Trust of People, Czech Helsinki Committee
Czech Helsinki Committee condemned the sentencing of opposition activists and politicians. "All of them were convicted of nonviolent protest against the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko the Belarusian president in December 2010 in Minsk," said in a statement CHHK.
According to the Czech defenders, these processes are a disgrace not only for Belarus but also for Europe and for the supporters of democracy around the world. "We reiterate the words of Andrei Sannikov, who, defending himself in court very courageously, said that the government in the face of Lukashenko "had finally lost the confidence of the people and the international community," they noted...
"The Czech Helsinki Committee is convinced that time will soon come when the principles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights will be applied even in Belarus," concluded CHHK members.
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