At his press conference held on January 15 Aliaksandr Lukashenka was asked about his promise to let journalist Iryna Khalip leave the country. The woman was found guilty in participation in so called mass riot after the presidential elections on December 19, 2012 and sentenced to two years of imprisonment with suspended execution of the sentence.
“Khalip refused to go. She realizes that she is a martyr here. Abroad she won’t be in demand, like her husband who left for somewhere. Who talks about him except you? And you also don’t care about him. The same thing will happen to Iryna,” he answered.
However, Iryna Khalip, the wife of ex-presidential candidate Andrey Sannikau, states that policemen continue to serve in spite of the President’s words. “Over two consecutive nights [after the press conference] they came to my place. Earlier they used to turn up several times a week. Policemen may have been decided to display unprecedented vigilance; if anything cropped up they could well become witnesses: for example, [then] I was at home, but now I am out,” she said.
In October, 2012 Aliaksandr Lukashenka made a similar statement giving the interview to the Evening Standard. But when asked whether Lukashenka’s declaration would shape Iryna Khalip’s future a district penal body’s officers stressed that they should act in accordance with court orders, not with anyone’s words.
On July 20, 2013 the court is to adopt a decision on her release or mete out a real prison term.