Last week the president of Belarus promised to free Iryna Khalip, the Novaya Gazeta’s journalist and wife of ex-presidential candidate Andrey Sannikau while being interviewed by the Evening Standard, a British newspaper.
Lukashenka was talking with journalists about political prisoners, teddybears, dictatorship and the current political environment.
Poole asked Lukashenka why Iryna Khalip is forbidden to leave the country. It is to be recalled that she was found guilty in participation in mass rioting on December 19, 2012 and sentenced to two years of imprisonment with suspended execution of the sentence. On July 20, 2013 the court is to adopt a decision on her release or mete out a real prison term.
Lukashenka turned out not to be aware of the situation with the convicts under “December 19 case”.
“She can’t be here! I thought her to be in Moscow. Get her off by the evening horse this very day. Take her without returning. I can’t talk about this repson any more. Take her to Moscow if you want,” the Belarusian leader said.
After being reminded that Khalip remains under travel ban, Lukashenka permitted her to leave for Moscow stressing that the dictatorship also has its positive side. According to the Belarusian leader, neither of presidents would make such a decision on the spot except him.
But police officers inspecting Iryna Khalip know nothing about the presidential fine gesture. It is worthy of note that Lukashenka’s promise to release her was excised from the interview broadcast by state-owned Channel 1.