Ales Bialiatski: One should not believe Lukashenka’s words about Statkevich’s release
Such an opinion has been expressed in an interview to charter97.org website by a well-known Belarusian human rights activist, the head of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Ales Bialiatski.
- Today Aliaksandr Lukashenka has told journalists of Euroradio, Radio Liberty and tut.by that the issue of the former presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich, who is in prison, is on the agenda and could be resolved before the “elections.” How could you comment on this statement?
- I have attentively read this statement twice. Lukashenka has formulated it according to “fifty-fifty” principle, he has not found his position at all. And now it is really to look as exclusively his decision.
For the first time we have heard that the fate of Mikalai Statkevich in prison lies in hands of Lukashenka. That is why it would be extremely important now to find out whether the latter has at least a grain of conscience and morality left.
- To your mind, is it related to the “elections” in Belarus in October?
- I think it is connected with the elections. It is a serious challenge before the eyes of the world community to be “elected”, while keeping the candidate from the previous elections in prison, and a serious reason for non-recognition of this “elections”. That is why I think Lukashenka is at the crossroads now.
- Should we believe such a statement by the dictator?
- It has been said in a “fifty-fifty” format, and so the situation could be turned this and that way. So the words of Lukashenka should not be believed, and we should simply wait for the next move.
- Which factors could influence these “moves” so that Mikalai Statkevich would be really released?
- I think that curtailing the sanctions list, which includes Belarusian officials, is the “good will” signal from the European Union. It is clear that now they are waiting for reactive actions, and Statkevich’s release could become such an answer.
- Don’t you think that in such a case we have some kind of a trade in political prisoners?
- In this case exchange is better than absence of exchange.