Release of political prisoners is one of conditions for dialog with the Belarusian authorities, said Rene Van der Linden, chairperson of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe at the meeting with the Belarusian human rights defenders.

2007 2007-01-19T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

PACE chairperson told the representatives of the civic society that in his talks with the Belarusian government he raised the issue of political prisoners. The release of those who suffer persecution for their political convictions is a pre-condition of the broad dialog with the Belarusian authorities.

“There were different opinions about negotiations with the Belarusian government voiced during the meeting”, -- says human rights activist Ales Bialiatski. --“We pointed out that the constitutional norms are not being observed in Belarus. Obviously, this does not facilitate dialog on such a high level. Nevertheless, I expressed an opinion, that positive steps of the official Minsk, such as release of political prisoners and end of administrative and criminal prosecution against civic and political activists, would facilitate the negotiation process”. The PACE chairperson remarked that taking into account the difficulties which Belarusian government experiences in its relations with Moscow, it’s a good time to begin negotiations.

Today PACE chairperson Rene van der Linden met representatives of the civic society and human rights defenders: Iryna Kazulina, wife of the former presidential candidate Alexander Kazulin, former political prisoner Siarhei Skrabets, human rights activists Ales Bialiatski and Harry Pananiaila, experts Aleh Manayeu and Yaraslau Ramanchuk, and chairperson of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Zhanna Litvina.