Yesterday several hundred participants in peaceful and silent protests in Minsk and other cities in Belarus were taken into temporary custody. Over a dozen now face fines or even prison sentences. After the rigged presidential elections on 19 December 2010 several dozen opposition activists – including five presidential candidates – received prison sentences.
In this connection Werner Hoyer MP, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, today (23 June) issued the following statement:
“I strongly condemn the absolutely disproportionate and at times violent action taken yesterday by the Belarusian security forces against peaceful citizens and media representatives. I call on the Belarusian authorities to release all those in custody immediately.
With this action the regime has once again demonstrated its contempt for fundamental civic rights. Germany and the European Union see as their partners the citizens of Belarus who stand up for freedom and democracy.
The German Government renews its demand for the immediate release of all political prisoners, the review of all politically-motivated sentences and an end to harassment of the opposition and independent media.”