Former presidential candidate Uss threatened with criminal prosecution for calls for EU sanctions

2012 2012-04-19T16:15:36+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

The Prosecutor General's Office has threatened Dzmitry Uss (Vus), an opposition candidate in Belarus' 2010 presidential election, with criminal prosecution if he continues to call on the European Union to impose economic sanctions against Belarus, BelaPAN said.

During an interview that took place at the Prosecutor General's Office on Thursday, Mr. Uss was told that he might be charged under the Criminal Code's Article 361, which penalizes actions that may be damaging to Belarus' sovereignty, territorial integrity, national security and defense capability.

In an open letter sent to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton last month, Mr. Uss urged the 27-nation bloc to impose economic sanctions against the Alyaksandr Lukashenka regime to "help save the country from plunging deeper into crisis."

"They asked me whether I would continue to call for sanctions," Mr. Uss told BelaPAN. "If they don't release the political prisoners, change the electoral system, grant access to the state media to the Belarusian opposition and public figures, I will continue to call for economic sanctions against the lackey oligarchs who control the country's oil industry.

This is 44 percent of the budget of the Republic of Belarus! If the regime doesn't step on the path of liberalization, both political and economic, I will call for economic sanctions against courtier businessmen."

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