OSCE Parliamentary Assembly urges Minsk to release political prisoners

On July 7, 2012 the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly adopted a resolution calling on the Belarusian government to immediately and unconditionally release and exonerate all political prisoners, the PA OSCE press service told Belarusian news company Belapan.
We would like to bring to your attention the full text of the draft resolution on Belarus (Principal Sponsor Mr. Tony Lloyd, United Kingdom):
1. Recalling the resolutions adopted by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) at its Annual Sessions in 1999 (St. Petersburg), 2000 (Bucharest), 2002 (Berlin) and 2003 (Rotterdam), the report and resolution of 2007 (Kyiv) and the resolution of 2011 (Belgrade), as well as the Joint Declaration of the OSCE Working Group on Belarus and the delegation from the Belarusian National Assembly on future cooperation signed in 2004 (Edinburgh),
2. Noting the efforts of the 2011 and 2012 OSCE Chairmanships in re-establishing the OSCE field presence in Minsk and to establish a meaningful dialogue between OSCE institutions with Belarus as an OSCE participating State,
3. Regretting that elections in Belarus, including the December 2010 presidential elections, have been neither free nor fair,
4. Noting the United States Belarus Democracy and Human Rights Act of 2011 and the EU Council regulations and decisions of 2012 concerning restrictive measures against Belarus,
5. Noting the 2011 report of the OSCE/ODIHR with regard to the post-election trials, and supporting its conclusions with regard to lack of due process and lack of independence of the judiciary in Belarus,
6. Regretting that no press or interim reports were issued by the OSCE/ODIHR during the trial monitoring, and that the Chair of the OSCE PA Working Group on Belarus was denied access to Minsk to observe these public trials,
7. Deploring the limited cooperation between the Government of Belarus and OSCE’s institutions in the field of the Human Dimension, as well as the limited co-operation with the OSCE PA Working Group on Belarus, which has not been invited to visit Minsk since 2010,
8. Regretting that authorities in Belarus chose not to cooperate with the independent expert appointed through the OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism, and welcoming Professor Emmanuel Decaux’s report, calling on Belarus to respect its international commitments,
9. Welcoming the release of former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikau and his associate Zmitser Bandarenka following 16 months of incarceration,
10. Condemning the executions of Uladzislau Kavalyou and Dzmitry Kanavalau, sentenced to death for their alleged involvement in the April 2011 metro bombing in Minsk, through a trial that fell short of international standards for rule of law, the subsequent destruction of key evidence in these cases and the inhumane treatment (including police surveillance) of the families – whereby the bodies of the two men have not been returned to their relatives,
11. Condemning the intolerant and disrespectful rhetoric applied by the Belarusian President Aliaksandr Lukashenka with regard to the German Foreign Minister, 12. Deploring the lack of political pluralism in Belarus, which has again refused to register the party of the Belarusian Christian Democrats without due legal cause, 13. Noting that many civil society and media representatives have fled Belarus since December 2010 to seek asylum broad, and urges the authorities in Belarus to ensure conditions for their safe and voluntary return, 14. Deeply regretting the lack of media freedom in Belarus, including restrictive laws with regard to broadcasting and internet freedom, as well as selective application of justice with regard to independent journalists,
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:
15. Calls on the Government of Belarus to immediately and unconditionally release and exonerate all political prisoners in Belarus, including Ihar Alinevich, Mikalai Statkevich, Pavel Seviarynets, Ales Bialiatski, Siarhei Kavalenka, Zmitser Dashkevich, Mikalai Autukhovich, Eduard Lobau, Mikalai Dziadok, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Pavel Syramalotau, Artsyom Prakapenka, Yauhen Vaskovich, and guarantee the full restoration of their civil and political rights;
16. Calls on the Government of Belarus to allow representatives of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to visit political prisoners incarcerated in Belarus;
17. Urges the Government of Belarus to suspend the domiciliary arrest imposed on political prisoners released from prison, including Irina Khalip, Vladimir Neklyaev, and others;
18. Calls on the Belarusian authorities to respect freedom of movement of its citizens, including political activists, in Belarus and abroad;
19. Encourages the authorities to reconsider the applications of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party and the non-governmental human rights organization – Viasna, repeatedly denied legal registration without due cause;
20. Calls on the authorities to suspend the harassment and persecution of civil society, trade unions, independent media and human rights defenders;
21. Calls on the authorities to implement the recommendations of the International Labour Organization with regard to trade unions;
22. Expects that Belarus will respect its OSCE commitments, including the 1990 Copenhagen Document, in particular with regard to the upcoming parliamentary elections and that an invitation to observers will be issued in due time to allow international observers to follow the entire election process in an unobstructed manner;
23. Calls on the authorities to annul convictions and pending charges against journalists for activities connected with their profession, and to allow an unrestricted public debate on key social and political issues;
24. Recommends that the International Ice Hockey Federation suspend its plan to hold the 2014 International World Hockey championship in Minsk until the Government of Belarus releases all political prisoners;
25. Calls for an international investigation into the treatment of political prisoners incarcerated in Belarus, including allegations of torture by former prisoners like Ales Mikhalevich.
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