On Syarhey Kavalenka and on the situation in Belarus
European Parliament President Martin Schulz met today in Strasbourg with Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Štefan Füle and among other issues discussed the situation in Belarus. Following the meeting, President Schulz made the following statement:
"I am appalled by the deteriorating situation in Belarus regarding human rights and political freedoms.
The prolonged hunger strike by jailed opposition activist Syarhey Kavalenka highlights violations of democratic principles and disrespect for the rule of law.
Kavalenka's life is now under threat from the hunger strike against his unjustified imprisonment. I urge the Belarusian authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally and to provide him with the necessary medical assistance.
The Belarus authorities will have blood on their hands if he dies.
I repeat my call to free and rehabilitate all remaining political prisoners, including two former presidential candidates Mikalay Statkevich and Andrei Sannikaw, prominent human rights defender Ales Bialiatski, opposition activists Dzmitry Bandarenka, Mikalay Autokovich, Dzmitry Dashkevich and others.
I would also like to repeat my personal appeal to President Lukashenka to pardon Uladzislau Kavalyou and Dzmitry Kanavalau, who are on death row after the Belarus Supreme Court upheld their sentence. We stand against the death penalty under any circumstances and we call on Belarus, the last remaining country in Europe that still uses it, to introduce a moratorium on capital punishment.
The European Parliament will voice its grave concern over these cases in a resolution this Thursday. We deeply regret that the stance of the authorities keeps the relations between Belarus and the EU frozen.
The citizens of Belarus deserve better. The European Parliament strongly supports civil society and the democratic aspirations of the Belarusian people and encourages the authorities in Minsk to respond positively to the EU offer of visa facilitation for its citizens."
For further information:
Armin MachmerSpokespersonMobile: +32 479 97 11 98
Marcin GrajewskiPress OfficerMobile: +32 498 98 15 50