Lukashenka says that he will order release of Sannikaw, Statkevich, Bandarenka after they ask him for pardon

2011 2011-12-23T15:30:09+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

Alyaksandr Lukashenka said Friday that he would order the release of former presidential candidates Andrey Sannikaw and Mikalay Statkevich, as well as Mr. Sannikaw’s campaign aide Dzmitry Bandarenka only after they asked him for a pardon.

“Speaking of Dzmitry Bandarenka, frankly, I am not familiar with the matter well: I don’t know whether he was a campaign aide or not,” said Mr. Lukashenka at a large new conference that started in Minsk at noon while answering a question from BelaPAN Editor-in-Chief Iryna Lewshyna. “But Bandarenka and those whom you have mentioned are all equal before the law. You and they are all equal. I would like to draw your particular attention to the fact. Secondly, I want to tell you absolutely straightly that I will pardon or may pardon only a person who has applied to me for a pardon. If they don’t do this, let’s them remain imprisoned.”

Mr. Lukashenka ignored the BelaPAN editor`s remark that this past fall, he pardoned 12 post-election protesters, including former presidential candidate Dzmitry Uss (Vus), without receiving a pardon application from them.

Answering the next question, Mr. Lukashenka revisited the subject of the political prisoners, noting, “I can grant a pardon and can deny it. There are certain factors that deter me from the move and spur me to it. But this is my constitutional right.”

Mr. Lukashenka pardoned nine people, convicted in connection with the December 19, 2010 post-election protest in Minsk, on August 11 and four other post-election protesters on September 1.

The presidential press office then announced that the convicts had filed pardon applications, in which they said that “they repented, admitted their guilt and realized the illegal nature of their actions, and expressed their readiness to strictly abide by the laws of the Republic of Belarus.”

On September 14, the Belarusian leader pardoned 11 more men convicted over the post-election protest. The presidential press office cited “the principles of humaneness” as the reason for Mr. Lukashenka`s decision, making it clear that the 11 had not applied to the head of state for a pardon.

Mr. Uss was pardoned and released on October 1.

A total of 44 people had been convicted under the Criminal Code in connection with the protest. Twenty-eight of them were sentenced to prison terms, which ranged from three to six years.

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