Will Lukashenka pardon political prisoners?

Aliaksandr Lukashenka is to hold a session on amnesty, the official web site of the Belarusian president reports.

The Department for the Execution of Sentences developed a draft law on amnesty which has already been accepted by relevant state bodies. at a rough guess, about 2800 prisoners may be released under the amnesty. The term of imprisonment may be reduced for more than 7000 convicts.

Who is to be freed?

“I have already said that: decent people are languishing in prison while we are releasing scoundrels, be it under or not under pressure,” Aliaksandr Lukashenka said, referring to the release of some of his political opponents. Aliaksandr Lukashenka stated in his address to the Belarusian perliament and people on May 8, 2012.

The Belarusian president did not trouble himself with explanations who are “decent people” and how they got to prison. But considering pressure one can conclude that saying “scoundrels” Lukashenka reffered to the political prisoners. According to human rights defenders, at least 12 political prisoners still remain behind bars.

If the Belarusian leader smileses on the draft law several categories of prisoners can be released in July, i.e. minors, pregnant women, women and unmarried men who have children of minority age, disabled persons of groups I and II, cancer patients, Charnobyl disaster liquidators, etc. Futhermore, persons committed misdemeanours and crimes which do not pose a threat to public security might be freed from restraint under condition of money damages.

It is noteworthy that persons who have not transferred. illegal income back into the state’s hands are not included in the amnesty.

Bialiatski’s casus

Human rights defender Ales Bialiatski’s name is widely recognised abroad. But latest developments of Belarusian Themis speak for the fact that the authorities do thei rbest to prevent him from being amnestified.

Ales Bialiatski was accused of large-scale tax evasion based on documents handed to the Belarusian prosecution by Polish and Lithuanian officials and sentenced to 4.5-year confinement in a high-security prison and confiscation of property. Moreover, Bialiatski had to pay 721 million rubles of the compensation for financial damage allegedly caused on the state, and 36 million rubles of the court expenditures (appr. $ 90,000 in total). Due to donations the necessary amount of money was raised, but this did not affect the situation.

Moreover, Pershamaiski District Court of Minsk granted the civil lawsuit of the Pershamaiski District Tax Inspection concerning the exaction of 140,000 rubles (appr. $17,000) of fine from Ales Bialiatski for the untimely payment of the sum of the taxes. The lawsuit was granted despite the fact that the sum which was paid by the human rights defender in January was indexed because of the inflation and increased more than two times.



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