PES demands immediate release of Belarus political prisoners

28/03/2017

Belarus flag

The Party of European Socialists is following the current situation in Belarus with great concern and demands an immediate release of all political prisoners.

PES president Sergei Stanishev said:

"The situation in Belarus continues to escalate alarmingly. More than 700 people have been detained in recent weeks because of their opposition to the 'Parasite Tax' introduced by the Belarusian regime."

At the beginning of February, a new tax known as the 'Parasite Tax' was introduced in Belarus. The tax sparked anger and frustration among the Belarusian people, and led to protests throughout the country.

Stanishev continued:

"This manoeuvre from the regime, supposedly justified by fighting poverty and exclusion, will in fact only ostracise more people, especially given the vast number of Belarusians already banned from holding regular jobs due to blacklisting by the regime.

"The solution to unemployment can never be found in punishing the unemployed – only in creating jobs and economic growth.

"Moreover, to punish dissidents by depriving them of their freedom, among other things, is unacceptable. Democracy, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly must be guaranteed and protected."