Ukraine demands that Lukashenko put a stop to political repression


28.04.2006  Ukraine has called on Belarus to free all arrested leaders of the Belarusian opposition. This was announced in a press statement from the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the press agency UNIAN. The document says that Ukraine shares the concern expressed by the European Union on 27 April with regard to the actions of the authorities directed against peaceful demonstrators taking part in the rally “Chernobyl Path” in Minsk on 26 April to mark the twentieth anniversary of the most terrible manmade catastrophe in human history at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.  Those arrested and jailed for 15 days include the leader of the democratic Belarusian opposition, Aleksandr MILINKEVICH, Sergei KALYAKIN, Aleksandr  and  Vintsuk VYACHORKA and, as well as the leader of “Molodoy front” [“Youth front”], Dmytry Dashkevich

The Ministry considers that “such actions by the Belarusian authorities contravene the right of Belarusian citizens to peaceful assembly and the expression of their own will in accordance with recognized democratic norms, and do not comply with Belarus’ commitments within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

“We call on the Belarusian authorities to act within the framework of the country’s international legal commitments in the area of human rights and fundamental freedoms, to use all necessary measures to release peaceful demonstrators who have been arrested, as well as Aleksandr Kozulin who was imprisoned for similar activities on 25 March. We urge them to observe tolerance and to avoid applying repressive measures and force against peaceful citizens of Belarus”, the statement reads.

As already reported, the Belarusian opposition held a “Chernobyl Path” rally on 26 April to mark the

twentieth anniversary of the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Different estimates put the number of people who took part as from 7 to 10 thousand.

On 27 April the Pervomaisky District Court in Minsk sentenced the former presidential candidate and leader of the united democratic forces, Aleksandr MILINKEVICH, the leader of the Labour Party, O BUKHVOSTOV, and the leader of the Belarusian People’s Front, V.VYACHORKA to 15 days administrative arrest, and the leader of the Belarusian Party of Communists, Sergei Kalyakin, to 14 days arrest for taking part in and organizing an unsanctioned rally on 26 April.

Immediately after this, The USA. European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe condemned the actions of the Belarusian authorities directed against the opposition.

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