Right after sentencing Belarusian oppositionists Andrei Kim and Syarhei Parsyukevich to long terms of imprisonment, Minsk was visited by Secretary General of the European Commission for Democracy through Law, better known as the Venice Commission (the Council of Europe’s advisory body) Gianni Buquicchio.
“The official has made simply mocking statements. How could be mentioned “great efforts of Belarus to release political prisoners”, when Kazulin whose release is demanded by Europe and the US is imprison, and such harsh verdicts are delivered to participants of peaceful protests?” stated the international coordinator of the Charter’97, a member of the organizing committee of the campaign “European Belarus” Andrei Sannikov.
“An international official of such a level cannot be unaware of the fact that the Venice Commission once gave a harsh evaluation to holding in Belarus an unconstitutional referendum in 2004, as stated by it. And the head of this commission arrives and meets with judges of the Constitutional court who helped to carry out that referendum! The Council of Europe adopts a harsh resolution based on the report of Christos Pourgourides, and the head of one of the divisions of the Council of Europe arrives and makes such statements,” Sannikov noted.
Besides, the member of the organizing committee of the civil campaign “European Belarus” reminds that the Council of Europe has supported 12 recommendations of the EU, one of the key points of which is release of political prisoners.
“Not the fact of the Venice Commission Secretary’s visit is scandalous, but that he had chosen the most inappropriate moment and tried to close eyes to the situation with human rights in the country, in particular at political prisoners in Belarus. We have observed many times when actions of international officials or representatives of international organizations that radically disagreed with decisions of those organizations, caused increase of repressions in Belarus. Gianni Buquicchio should remember about that, as well as the PACE Rapporteur Andrea Rigoni and the Head of the PA OSCE working group on Belarus Uta Zapf, who plan their visits to Belarus as well,” Andrei Sannikov said.