Belarus’ representative compelled to withdraw from PACE committee session

A representative of Belarus had to leave the session of the PACE Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy which allegedly was considering the Belarusian issue. The information about the scandal in Strasbourg was voiced at the briefing of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on October 4, 2012.
An ITAR-TASS journalist asked MFA spokesperson Andrey Savinykh to comment on both decisions on Belarus which had been taken at the PACE committee session and the Belarusian representative’s knocking out. A MFA stance will be declared later, Mr. Savinykh said.
In a statement adopted today in Strasbourg, the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe announced its unanimous decision to support the proposal by Andres Herkel (Estonia), rapporteur on the situation in Belarus, to nominate Ales Bialiatski – the human rights defender sentenced on 24 November 2011 to four and a half years’ imprisonment – for the 2013 PACE Human Rights Prize.
In its statement, the committee reiterated its call to the Belarusian authorities “immediately and unconditionally to release and rehabilitate all political prisoners, including those who have been pardoned”, pointing out that twelve political prisoners remain in jail and that there are serious reports and allegations of torture, inadequate medical care and lack of access to legal assistance.
An information note by Mr Herkel, made public today, also stresses that “the situation of human rights and democracy has not improved in Belarus since the adoption of the Assembly’s last resolution in January 2012”. Human rights and political freedoms continue to be trampled on and political opponents harassed. The note also points out that no further steps have been taken towards abolition of the death penalty or a moratorium on executions. On the contrary, two executions have been carried out in 2012.
It is to be recalled that the PACE found that the parliamentary elections in Belarus had not met international democratic standards.
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