Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

EU extends sanctions against Belarus until October 31, 2013

Council of the European Union decided on October 15 to prolong sanctions against the Belarusian authorities until October 31, 2013.

According to the Council conclusions [the document] on Belarus, the sanctions have been prolonged because the Council "remains deeply concerned about decisions concerning additional prison sentences and continued reports of mistreatment of political prisoners." Moreover, the Council has decided to reiterate "its calls for the immediate release and rehabilitation of all remaining political prisoners."

The Council notes the release of Syarhei Kavalenka "as a positive signal," but regrets that the release was conditional after Mr. Kavalenka's had written the letter to Alyaksandr Lukashenka with the appeal for pardon.

According to the document, not all political prisoners were released and there are no released prisoners who have been rehabilitated.

The Council "calls upon the Belarusian authorities to stop harassment of civil society, the political opposition and the independent media."

At present, sanctions apply to 243 Belarusian officials.