Ales Bialiatski: No changes for the better in Belarus
Belarusian government sends "happy letters" to independent media, acquires special equipment to block undesirable sites. increase terms for political prisoners or put them under more severe conditions. And meanwhile Chairman of the European Council Donald Tusk believes "Minsk is sending positive signals ". A former political prisoner, the head of the closed Viasna human rights center, Vice-President of the International Federation of Human Rights Ales Bialiatski sees only negative changes and does not understand what optimism of European officials is related to.
- For sure, Tusk is deceived; there are no improvements in Belarus. Moreover, we even observe alarming signals in this sphere. They affect political prisoners and their prison conditions which have deteriorated in last months. This problem did not disappear and, now the situation is taking the worst way, a human rights activist says.
–The authorities acquire "jammers" to block sites and send out warnings to the independent mass media. -What may it lead to?
- As for "happy letters", it tells us about upcoming elections, so the authorities are trying to launch a wave of fear among independent media. They are like to be blocked soon.
–In other words, will "the elections" be held in their ordinary way?
- Yes. And it means there are no changes for the better. Activists with their peace protest actions are still being pursued. Therefore, there are no signals indicating improvements with human rights situation in Belarus. There is nothing that could prove it. My release has been the last positive signal. But it happened about a year ago. But this year we have only bad news.