Poland Suggests New Sanctions for Minsk
Warsaw, March 6 – Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller told reporters that Poland is proposing new sanctions against Belarus over the sentencing of opposition leaders Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Pavel Latushko.
On Monday, a Minsk court sentenced Belarusian opposition leaders Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Pavel Latushko in absentia to 15 and 18 years in prison, respectively.
“These show trials … only show that, unfortunately, far-reaching measures must be taken in relation to Belarus, if we talk about international sanctions,” Mueller said.
He noted that Poland recently turned to the European Council with a proposal that the sanctions currently applied against Russia should also extend to Belarus.
“Prime Minister Mateusz Moravicki also called, through European channels, for the inclusion of all persons who participate in show trials in Belarus – prosecutors, judges and other persons belonging to the institution of repression on the territory of Belarus, in the sanctions lists.”
Mueller concluded his speech by saying: “So our response is for the European Union to accept such a package of sanctions.”
Tikhanovskaya and Latushko were charged with conspiracy to seize state power in an unconstitutional manner, creation and leadership of an extremist formation, public calls for sanctions, and incitement to social hatred. In addition, a number of defendants are accused of certain articles, for example, Tikhanovskaya was charged with treason against the state, Latushko – with corruption.
After the presidential elections held in Belarus on August 9, 2020, in which Alexander Lukashenko won for the sixth time, massive opposition protests erupted in the country. The KGB of Belarus stated in February 2021 that manifestations of the protests had practically disappeared.
In Belarus, criminal cases have been opened against a number of opposition leaders, including calls for the seizure of power, the creation of an extremist formation, a conspiracy to seize state power in an unconstitutional way, and an attempted terrorist act. A number of representatives of the Belarusian opposition went abroad, in particular to Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine. Belarus’ public prosecutor, Andrei Shved, said the criminal prosecution of opposition leaders Tikhanovskaya, Latushko and others who left after the EU countries’ presidential elections would continue, despite their refusal to extradite them to Minsk.
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