Former political prisoners don’t think their release is a ground of reviewing EU’s positions towards Belarus.
The European Union said on 26 August its members welcomed the release of two political prisoners Syarhei Parsyukevich and Andrei Kim. “Their release, which follows the release of five political prisoners at the beginning of this year and, more recently, of Mr Kozulin means that there are no longer any prisoners in Belarus internationally recognised as political prisoners. This latest development could offer the Union scope for a progressive resumption of dialogue with the Belarusian authorities and the possibility of a review of the restrictive measures which it has adopted against Belarus,” the statement says.
Former political prisoner Andrei Kim noted in an interview to BelaPAN, “steps forward should be followed by responsive steps. The Belarusian authorities have made a step, they have released me, Parsyukevich and Kazulin. However, the steps that have led to our release are not our full rehabilitation. We continue to seek for our full rehabilitation and the rehabilitation of everyone who got sentences for protest actions of entrepreneurs in winter. I think Europe should take it into consideration.”
S. Parsyukevich has a similar opinion. “Dialog is a necessary and useful thing. But it is important for Europe to realise that this dialog may turn into a monolog. The Belarusian authorities can make Belarusian citizens ”hostages” and demand some preferences for the regime, investments and so on in response to their release. We are released, but conviction hasn’t been removed, we are rehabilitated. Besides, entrepreneurs are sentenced and other people are disqualified for participating in protest action.”