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Belarus: PACE President reacts to prison terms for opposition leaders

Maria Kalesnikava, Belarus

“I am shocked to learn that Belarusian opposition leaders Maria Kalesnikava and Maksim Znak have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms on so-called conspiracy charges,” PACE President Rik Daems said today.

“These sentences are entirely without merit, and both of these courageous individuals – who have done no more than defend basic human rights in their home country – should be released immediately,” said the President.

“This sentence comes only days after Maria was shortlisted by our Assembly for the 2021 Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, which honours outstanding civil society work to uphold human rights. The world is watching what is happening in Belarus.”