Kazulin is free
Today Aliaksandar Kazulin has been released from Vitsba-3 prison.
He was serving the 5.5-year prison term, allegedly for hooliganism, after challenging Aliaksandar Lukashenka during the presidential election.
Kazulin was granted pardon by special edict, signed by Lukashenka on Friday.
Kazulin’s brother Uladzimir explains, yesterday Aliaksandar’s father-in-law died. This morning Kazulin was called to the prison’s administration, where he was informed about the death of his father-in-law and read the pardon order. However, Kazulin did not sign the agreement for pardon. He is not going to do that because he would admit his guilt by doing that. The prison administration released him without his signature – to participate in the funeral. It is still possible that after the funeral Aliaksandar will insist on returning to prison, Uladzimir Kazulin says.
The family of Kazulin hope that in any way the case will end up with complete release of Aliaksandar. The hopes for release were based on the talks on the corridors between the German Embassy and Lukashenka’s Office which continued last week. It is rumored that in their trade with the West the authorities were ready to release a group of political prisoners in exchange for some benefits.
The release of political prisoners, including Kazulin, is one of the main demands of the United Democratic Forces, the European Union and the United States. In winter, during the previous release of political prisoners, the authorities released almost everyone, with the exception of Kazulin.
When asked why Aliaksandar has been released now, his brother Uladzimir said: “Ambassadors’ visits to the President’s Office have started quite some time ago…”
The US embassy chief of mission Jonathan Moore greeted the release of Kazulin as the “first important step from the side of the Belarusian authorities”.
The German ambassador was not available for comments today. Lukashenka’s press service kept the usual silence.
Kazulin’a father-in-law was Ivan Sabaleuski. He will be buried in Koidanava (Dziarzhynsk), on Sunday morning. He did not survive the loss of his daughter.