Octobre 4, 2012
Strasbourg – In a statement adopted today in Strasbourg, the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) announced its unanimous decision to support the proposal by Andres Herkel (Estonia, EPP/CD), 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.