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Anne Brasseur reacts to the release of political prisoners in Belarus

“Though I welcome the release of six political prisoners by the Belarusian authorities, including the former presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich, I remain worried about the political orientation of leaders. I hope that this will be followed by further concrete steps that could lead to an improvement of the human rights situation and the normalisation of relations with the Council of Europe,” said Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

“The presidential elections scheduled for October 2015 will be an important test for the Belarusian leadership to prove the seriousness of their intentions to align themselves with Council of Europe standards in the sphere of democracy and human rights,” stressed the President.

For years now, the Parliamentary Assembly has been calling on the country’s authorities to release and rehabilitate all political opponents, human rights defenders and activists who have been convicted for the exercise of their political rights. It has also been urging them to immediately introduce a moratorium on the execution of death penalty, with a view to its complete abolition.