Emanuel Zeltser has been released from Mahiliou prison

2009 2009-07-01T18:06:49+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/zelcer_emanuil.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The US citizen Emanuel Zeltser was released from penal colony #15 in Mahiliou in the evening on June 30. The former prisoner flew to the United States at 5:30 a.m. on 1 July.

A decree to pardon Zeltser was signed by Lukashenka on 30 June after his meeting with a US congressional delegation. Lukashenka emphasized at the meeting that Zeltser had violated the Belarusian law. ‘He was detained in our country, tried in accordance with the Belarusian law, even Jonathan Moore, US charge d'affaires in Belarus, doesn’t deny this,’ Lukashenka’s press service quotes him. ‘I’ve never thought this man will be a question in the relations between our states. Well, I can pardon Emanuel Zeltser according to the Belarusian law. You ask me to do this, don’t you? If this is very important for America and our relations and promotes normalization of our relations, I’ll sign the decree today.’

Jonathan Moore, charge d'affaires of the US in Belarus welcomed the decision of the Belarusian authorities on Zeltser’s release and called it ‘a step forward’. ‘Further development of the relations depends on steps of the both sides’, he said.

In August 2008, Minsk City Court sentenced lawyer Zeltser to three years in prison for the use of fake documents and attempted industrial espionage. The Supreme Court upheld this decision on 31 October. Zeltser didn’t admit his guilt.

On 8 June, Zeltser went on hunger strike protesting against actions of Minsk City Court, which delayed sending documents for amnesty to the penal colony. On 25 June the prisoner suspended his hunger strike till the end of the month.