Markus Löning, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement concerning the conviction today (16 May) of the journalist Iryna Khalip and the campaign managers of two candidates in last year’s presidential elections in Belarus:
“I strongly condemn the two-year probationary sentence imposed on Iryna Khalip. I likewise condemn the two-year suspended sentence given to Syargei Martseleu, the campaign manager of Mykalau Statkevich, who stood in last year’s presidential elections, and the three-year minimum-security prison sentence imposed on Pavel Sevyarnyets, Vital Rymasheusky’s campaign manager. Like tens of thousands of other Belarusians, these people were exercising their right to demonstrate and making use of their freedom of assembly.
The German Government demands that all politically motivated convictions be reviewed immediately. I forcefully remind the leadership of Belarus that it is obliged to protect the human rights of its citizens. All political prisoners must be released; all people in Belarus have a right to live in liberty and dignity.
Germany is on the side of everyone working for democracy and freedom in Belarus.”
A Minsk court passed the sentences against the three today for their participation in protests against the fraudulent presidential elections of 19 December 2010. Iryna Khalip’s sentence is subject to a further court ruling in two year’s time.