Posted 16 февраля 2023,, 13:01

Published 16 февраля 2023,, 13:01

Modified 16 февраля 2023,, 14:55

Updated 16 февраля 2023,, 14:55

"There are no and never were!" Lukashenko again denied the presence of political prisoners in Belarus

"There are no and never were!" Lukashenko again denied the presence of political prisoners in Belarus

16 февраля 2023, 13:01
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has publicly stated for the second time that there is allegedly not a single political prisoner in the republic.

According to the head of state, there is a reasonable explanation for every fact of criminal prosecution of citizens of the country, which has nothing to do with politics.

"Call any "political prisoner". We will explain what he has done, why is he there", - Interfax quotes Lukashenka as saying.

At a meeting with foreign journalists, Lukashenko added that he was ready to "forgive" the oppositionists who fled abroad en masse after the presidential elections, but now decided to return to the country.

Lukashenko is especially interested in the return of Belarusian doctors to their homeland, who, according to him, are "in great demand" everywhere.

"I want them to live here and work here. And we are ready to forgive what can be forgiven. That's the kind of democratic dictatorship we have", - the president explained.

Recall that two years ago, speaking at At the All-Belarusian People's Assembly in Minsk on February 11-12, Lukashenko also publicly stated that there were no political prisoners in the republic. However, in an interview with the BBC, the president, speaking about the opposition, warned: "We will cut out all the scoundrels".The security forces openly said that "not everyone has been reached yet". And the KGB generals proposed to deprive all dissidents of Belarusian citizenship.

Examples of persecution of oppositionists in the country are obvious: a whole series of criminal cases have been opened in Belarus against ex-presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was forced out of the country. Her colleague Maria Kolesnikova, who refused to go abroad, was sentenced to 11 years in prison in the case of "conspiracy to seize state power." Svetlana Tikhanovskaya's husband Sergei Tikhanovsky was sentenced to 18 years in prison in the case of "preparation of mass riots".

In January of this year, the security forces detained former presidential candidate Andrey Dmitriev. Along with him, ex-presidential candidates Viktor Babariko, Valery Tsepkalo, as well as their supporters and representatives of their election headquarters were persecuted in the country.

"One of or one of the speakers here said that it is necessary to hold a political amnesty... If this person gets the criminal code, our other laws and shows me, maybe you at least one political article in the criminal code and says that on the basis of this political article someone is convicted, we will think, what decisions to make. We have not had and do not have any political prisoners", - Lukashenko said at the time.

Meanwhile, human rights activists claim numerous facts of political repression. According to the Belarusian IC, since 2020, more than 11 thousand criminal cases have been opened in the country under the article on extremism in connection with mass protests of residents dissatisfied with the results of the presidential elections. Lukashenka won them for the 6th time in a row. Observers reported numerous falsifications in favor of the head of state, and also pointed to numerous arrests of political opponents of the president. Residents demanded new fair elections, an end to police terror and the release of all political prisoners in the country.