24 November 2017, Friday, 10:16

Paval Sevyarynets: Nomination of Statkevich could help release all political prisoners

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The campaign for nomination of Mikalai Statkevich as a candidate for presidency should be held right now.

The co-chairman of the organizing committee for creation of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Party Paval Sevyarynets in his interview to Radio Racyja told which conditions could facilitate release of the former presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich.

- Now the campaign for nomination of Mikalai Statkevich as an oppositional candidate for presidency is carried out. Can it help the political prisoner to be released?

- Undoubtedly, it can. First of all, it’s a solidarity campaign, and political prisoners in Belarus get liberty only under pressure. It happened on previous occasions, when dozens of political prisoners got out of jails thanks to the pressure of the general public and of Europe. It’s the first reason. Secondly, after [the events in] Ukraine, the Normandy format, and “drinking coffee in buckets”, Europeans have become frequent visitors of Minsk, while the terms of release of all political prisoners for full-fledged relations have not been annulled by anyone. Thus, the release of Statkevich remains the condition of the European Union. There is progress, active talks are under way. And to my mind, in this moment an active campaign for nomination of Mikalai Statkevich could help his release. It is a solidarity campaign, and a moral and political move, and at the same time, a very important action for Mikalai’s release.

- Possibly, the regime would like to release Mikalai Statkevich as soon as possible, too, but they do not know how to do that and to save the face, do they? Could a compromise solution be found in this case?

- I far as I have heard, an option which is being considered now is transferring Mikalai into a corrective labour facility. On the one hand, he will have his hands tied, and on the other hand, it would be possible to visit him and so on. It is a halfway option. It is possible that bargaining over this variant is being carried out now. I am not sure, but it looks like that. But in reality, not only release, but rehabilitation of Mikalai Statkevich and other political prisoners is necessary. That is why I think that the campaign for release of Statkevich should be carried out under a slogan: “Release of all political prisoners currently detained in Belarus.” Secondly, there should be a demand of their complete rehabilitation.

- There is an opinion that because of the events in Ukraine Europe is too busy to pay attention to political prisoners in Belarus. This issue seems to have paled into insignificance…

- It is common knowledge that geopolitics is always more important for politicians than some moral issues, related to dignity and lives of individuals. But still, Europe is based upon Christian values. And the European Union, which proclaims a person as its priority value, cannot cast away a moral reason. It is another thing that there are different forces among European politicians. Some of them do not even discuss political prisoners with Lukashenka, they are interested in geopolitics only. But there are people who are genuinely interested in release of political prisoners. That is why combined efforts of Europe do not allow starting a full-fledged dialogue and solving many important questions without release of political prisoners. I think that the Belarusian authorities understand that perfectly well.