"Either to tighten a noose around one's neck, or to solve problems"
Group of U.S. Congressmen sent a letter to President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenka. They call for release democracy activists from prison and to punish those guilty of unlawful arrests.
The letter to Lukashenko was signed by the Congressmen Dan Burton, Gregory Meeks, Tim Griffin, Elton Gallegly, Eliot Engel, Ted Poe, Tom Marino, Theodore Deutch, Gus Bilirakis, Albio Sires and Jean Schmidt.
They expressed deep concern about the detention of Belarusian citizens, in particular Nikolay Statkevich, Dmitry Dashkevich, Eduard Lobov, Pavel Severinets, Igor Olenevich, Nikolay Dedok, Alexander Frantskevich, Andrei Sannikov, Nikolay Avtukhovich, Ales Belyatskiy and Dmitry Bondarenko.
- We know as, friends of Belarus, that all the people of Belarus cherish the inherent and inviolable dignity of the human person; which means freedom from arbitrary arrest or seizure. We also know that the people of Belarus are committed to the principles and ideas of democracy; including the right to free speech and dissent. Therefore, we respectfully ask you to address these concerns; particularly the cases cited above. It improprieties are true, we respectfully urge you to ensure the freedom of those individuals as quickly as possible and to hold those responsible for these deplorable acts fully accountable for their illegal actions, - the congressmen letter says.
They stress that if these reports of illegal detention are accurate, they suggest "a serious problem is occurring within Belarus that requires decisive action on the part of your government to stop".
- Freeing unlawfully detained individuals and prosecuting those responsible for their illegal detention will send a strong signal to the people of Belarus and to the international community that your government will not tolerate human rights violations or the subversion of the democracy, - the document says.
As the chairman of the United Civil Party Anatol Lyabedzka said to UDF.BY site, this statement "is the very serious document".
- The matter is that the initiative comes from the head of the Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia. In the U.S. Congress he is a key person for the entire European continent, and of course for Belarus. This Subcommittee shapes the policy of the U.S. Congress and a lot depends on the position of Congressman Dan Burton and his colleagues: it's the issue of loans and investment, and the issue of cooperation in other areas. Therefore, if I were on a place if the official Minsk, I would treated this statement more than seriously, - the chairman of the UCP said. According to him, this massage can't be ignored or not mentioned.
- The choice of the official Minsk is small: either to tighten a noose around the own neck, or try to solve the problems of almost 10 million citizens of Belarus, - said A. Lyabedzka.
He also said, the continuation of this treatment should be an official statement by John McCain at a meeting of the Senate of the United States Congress. Such statements may affect on the final content of the Act on Support for Democracy in Belarus: "there may be as point sanctions, as well as a strategy of tough confrontation with the official Minsk and a strategy of searching the points where our interests coincide".
Download letter: 10-14-2011-letter-to-belarus.pdf