I am abhorred by the sentencing of my good friend and co-chairman of the Belarus Christian Democrats, Pavel Sevyarynets, together with the European Belarus activists Maksim Vinyarski, Andrey Voynich, Paval Yukhnevich and Yauhen Afnahel, as well as Telegram channel administrator Iryna Schasnaya and blogger Dzmitry Kazlou. All seven were sentenced in a closed trial. Pavel, who has already spent nearly a decade in Lukashenka’s prisons and penal colonies, has been sentenced to 7 years in prison.
There are now 476 political prisoners in Belarus and the list continues to grow. Their only crime is to wish to live in a free, democratic and sovereign Belarus! This is why I, together with my colleagues in the European Parliament, continue to call on additional targeted sanctions against Lukashenka and all those responsible for the continued repressions, but also for the European Union to impose sectoral economic sanctions, lifting of which must be made conditional on the release of all political prisoners and end to all repression in Belarus.
Aliaksander Lukashenka is a despot who has imprisoned an entire nation – much like the Soviet Union which he continues to revere. He is a usurper, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in the European Parliament to defend the people of Belarus, and their aspirations for a Free Belarus! Zyvie Belarus!