PACE Reporter Concerned About the Problem of Belarusian Political Prisoners
The next session to be held by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will most probably be devoted to the presidential elections in Belarus. An Azerbaijani deputy Asim Malazade, a special PACE reporter on Belarus, told Radio Liberty. The report he is preparing will be presented at the spring session of the assembly. "We carefully examine the situation in the country and the report that the political committee of the PACE is preparing should cover the situation with the functioning of all institutes in the country. What is extremely important to us is the issue of political prisoners, their state of health and the problem of the disappeared people, said the PACE special reporter. -- We believe that the country right in the heart of Europe should not have political prisoners. This is the most sensitive issue for the Council of Europe".
Asim Malazade says that for the Council of Europe the main task in the relations with Belarus is the release of all political prisoners. This problem remains the main obstacle to a dialog between the Council of Europe and the official Minsk.
Mr. Malazade noted that the membership of his country, Azerbaijan, in the Council of Europe contributed to the solution of the problem of the political prisoners, hundreds of people were released at the demand of the Council of Europe, which is, in his opinion, the greatest contribution of this organization into the democratization of Azerbaijan.
At the summer session of PACE Asim Malazade presented his memorandum that was considered in the subcommittee for Belarus, another similar document will be produced at the December session. The deadlines for the Belarusian issue will be decided at the plenary sitting of PACE.
Most probably, this will take place at the spring session of the assembly before the presidential elections in Belarus.
Since the special reporter was appointed to this position, he has not been able to visit Belarus. The Belarusian authorities do not want to see neither him nor representatives of the other human rights groups.