European Union (EU) head of diplomacy, Josep Borrell, today called on the Belarusian authorities to “immediately release” political opponents and recalled that he will impose sanctions “on the people responsible” for the repression in the country.
In a statement, Borrell wrote: “The EU expects the Belarusian authorities to take care of the immediate release of all persons detained for political reasons before and after the falsified presidential elections on 9 August”.
He stressed that “it is clear that the authorities of the State of Belarus continue to intimidate or allow the intimidation of their citizens (…) and that they grossly violate, at the same time, their own national laws and their international obligations”.
In particular, he cited the case of Maria Kolesnikova, the only top figure in the opposition who chose not to go into exile, who, according to his team, would have been “kidnapped” by strangers this morning.
“We hope that the authorities will end political persecution,” he insisted.
Borrell recalled that the EU will impose sanctions “on those responsible for violence, repression and falsifying election results”.
A demonstration on Sunday brought together, for the fourth consecutive weekend, a crowd of more than 100,000 people, despite the massive presence of police and even military personnel in the capital.
Official sources reported the detention of 633 people on that day.
Alexandre Loukachenko, 66, of whom 26 at the head of Belarus, continues to reject any dialogue and seek support from Moscow.
The repression was particularly brutal in the days following the August 9 election. At least three people were killed, dozens injured and more than seven thousand detained in the first demonstrations.