UK Minister for European Affairs David Lidington made a statement about the Belarusian situation on March 5. "The United Kingdom would like to reiterate its grave concerns about ongoing human rights violations in Belarus," he said and added that Britain "strongly condemns" the sentences in the case on December 19.
«Having previously called for the immediate, unconditional release of all political prisoners following the presidential elections on December 19, 2010, the United Kingdom deeply regrets the opening of trials against detainees,» said David Lidington.
«The UK condemns in the strongest terms the recent sentencing of Vasili Parfenkov, Dmitri Novikov, Alexander Molchanov and Alexander Atroschenkov to between three to four years imprisonment in a high security colony. The convictions appear to be politically motivated and are entirely dispropriate to the charges brought — for example a four-year sentence for merely hitting a wooden makeshift barrier,» says David Lidington.
In addition, the minister said Britain was «deeply concerned by the evident pressure being placed on the lawyers, defending those detained, in particular the disbarment of lawyers at the request of the Ministry of Justice.»
«We were shocked by the statement, issued by Ales Michalevic on February 28 concerning his treatment in the KGB detention, and call on the Belarusian authorities to carry out prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into all reports of torture, physical coercion and intimidation. The UK urges Belarus not to isolate itself further from the international community, demonstrating such flagrant disregard for internationally accepted standards of justice,» the British Foreign Office diplomat website.
«And we call on Belarus, once more, to release all political prisoners immediately and to drop all charges against them. This would be a step towards the resumption of a dialogue with the international community,» said David Lidington.
As Telegraf previously reported, a former presidential candidate, Ales Michalevic, claimed that he had been repeatedly tortured by his interrogators in the KGB jail in Minsk, from where he was recently released.
Leading UK law firm H2O Law said he would sue the President of the former Soviet republic, Alexander Lukashenko, for «systematic torture in the prisons of the KGB.»