Human Rights Commissioner Löning on reports that Andrei Sannikov has been tortured by Belarusian authorities

27.01.2012 - Press release

Irina Khalip, the wife of former Belarusian presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov, has informed journalists that her husband, under torture and having received death threats against his family, applied to President Lukashenko for a pardon on 20 November 2011.

Markus Löning, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement on the subject in Berlin today (27 January):

“It is with great concern that I receive reports on the inhumane treatment of Andrei Sannikov. The fact that he has been put under physical and psychological pressure in order to break his free will and, moreover, forced to apply for a pardon is completely unacceptable; Belarus is blatantly abusing human rights in this case. Likewise it is intolerable that other political prisoners have also had more severe conditions of imprisonment imposed on them.
It is unacceptable that there are still political prisoners incarcerated in Belarus. This is a flagrant violation of human rights and democratic principles.
I once again urge the Belarusian authorities to finally release Andrei Sannikov and all other political prisoners without conditions and fully rehabilitate them.”


For his participation in peaceful protests against the Belarusian regime, former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on 14 May 2011. His trial had not met rule‑of‑law standards by any measure. Under torture and facing death threats against his wife and child, Sannikov signed a plea for pardon on 20 November 2011.

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