Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson on the release of political prisoners in Belarus
On 23 August a Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement on the latest developments in Belarus:
The release of Nikolai Statkevich and other political prisoners, which was announced yesterday, is a positive step and one which we welcome.
The European Union has been calling for the release of political prisoners in Belarus for many years. This call has now been answered.
Together with our EU partners, we will consider how to shape further rapprochement between Belarus and the EU. We are convinced that this would be in the interest of both sides.
In this context, we will be watching very closely to see whether the presidential elections scheduled for 11 October are carried out in a transparent manner and in keeping with OSCE standards.
Political prisoners Nikolai Statkevich, Nikolai Dedok, Igor Olinevich, Evgeniy Vaskovich, Artyom Prokopenko and Yuri Rubtsov were released in Belarus on Saturday (22 August). Statkevich was arrested following the December 2010 presidential election and in 2011 was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. Saturday’s events mean that all political prisoners have been released, a move long sought by the EU.