The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy Markus Löning issued the following statement on the release of Andrei Sannikov and Dmitry Bondarenko today (16 April):
It’s good that former Belarusian presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov and his aide Dmitry Bondarenko have finally been released following their long and gruelling imprisonment.
I urge Belarus to immediately free and rehabilitate all remaining political prisoners.
We stand by all those who work for freedom and human rights in Belarus. The continuing repression against them must be stopped.
Former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov was released on 14 April, his aide Dmitry Bondarenko on 15 April. Bondarenko requested a pardon on 3 February 2012, Sannikov in November 2011. Both requests for a pardon were granted under pressure.
Sannikov and Bondarenko were arrested during peaceful protests surrounding the presidential elections on 19 December 2010 and subsequently sentenced to several years’ imprisonment.
There are still ten political prisoners in Belarus. The German Government has repeatedly called for their release and rehabilitation.