The West should not be expected to significantly change its attitude to Belarus following the release of so-called political prisoners, Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey told state television network Belarus One on Sunday evening.
“We look at the situation realistically and we know that even if we released those whom they call political prisoners, new fault would be found with Belarus the following day,” Mr Makey said during the evening news show. “For example, why Belarus doesn’t register same-sex marriages? They would blame us for the fact that our kids call their parents ‘Dad’ and ‘Mom’ and not ‘Parent One’ and ‘Parent Two,’ as they require.”
According to Mr Makey, many forces were very displeased with what he described as Belarus’ independent policies and immunity to outside influences.
The issue of “political prisoners” has already become a thorn in the side, Mr Makey said. The West views a Belarusian person who evades taxes as a political prisoner, even though the United States and any European country would also sentence him to a prison term, maybe an even longer one, the Foreign Minister said, apparently referring to human rights defender Ales Bialiatski, who was freed under an amnesty law on June, 21 after spending nearly three years behind bars.
In November, 2011 Ales Bialiatski, Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), was sentenced to 4.5 years of imprisonment in a medium security penal colony and seizure of property for alleged tax evasion. The fact of his holding bank accounts in Poland and Lithuania gave the grounds for criminal prosecution. The cash standing to the credit of accounts was used for human rights defence activity: the centre financially supported the people affected by Lukashenka’s regime. In court Bialiatski stated that he had no other possibility of getting financial aid from foreign backers.
According to human rights centre Viasna (Spring), there are 7 political prisoners in Belarus. They include former presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich, Eduard Lobau, Mikalay Dziadok, Ihar Alinevich, Vasil Parfiankou, Yauhen Vaskovich, and Artsiom Prakapenka.
www.belsat.eu/en, following BelaPAN