Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko has freed six political prisoners, including a former presidential candidate, in what appears to be an overture to the West.
Lukashenko’s office released a statement Saturday calling the pardons a humanitarian gesture.
Those freed include Mikola Statkevich who ran for president in the last election in 2010. He was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of organizing street protests against the vote, which the opposition and the West condemned as rigged.
The European Union had demanded Statkevich’s release.
The U.S. has called Lukashenko “Europe’s last dictator” for his iron-fisted rule, suppression of free speech, and lack of …read more
Source: Voice of America