Statkevich: ‘I am not able to betray people’


Imprisoned opposition politician Mikalai Statkevich wrote to his wife Maryna Adamovich that he had no plans to ask president Lukashenka for mercy.

In the letter, dated January 16, he warned against attempts to secure his release through ‘secret’ diplomatic talks. He also rejected comparisons between him and Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Mr Statkevich stressed that he was a former presidential candidate, not a businessman.

“That’s why I won’t file any petition [for a pardon], as I called on people to take to the streets, and tens of thousands did so despite their fear. I won’t be able to betray so many people,” he explains in the letter.

At Tuesday’s meeting with the heads of several Belarusian media outlets the Belarusian President brought up the issue of releasing political prisoners Ales Bialiatski and Mikalai Statkevich.

When asked whether Mr Statkevich would be freed if he applied for a pardon, but his application did not contain an admission of guilt, Mr. Lukashenka said: ‘We may do this, but the procedure should be observed.’

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Mikalai Statkevich is the last 2010 presidential candidate to be in prison. The sentence given to Mr Statkevich in 2011 was one of the toughest: six years of imprisonment in a maximum security penal colony. The reason might be explained by the fact that in his election speech Mikalai Statkevich addressed to the current president demanding “to give back all that you have stolen”. The authorities are trying to embitter Statkevich’s life even in prison putting him to a disciplinary cell or making him share a ward with an AIDS sufferer. However, the former presidential candidate keeps mantaining his innocence and refuses to ask President Lukashenka for pardon.

www.belsat.eu/en, following BelaPAN

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