Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

McCain called on the government in Minsk to immediately release Ales Byalyatski

U.S. Senator John McCain yesterday issued the following statement on the detention of human rights and democracy advocate Ales Byalyatski by the Lukashenko regime in Belarus.

"The latest outrage committed by the Lukashenko regime in Belarus is the detention of human rights and democracy advocate, Ales Byalyatski, and it is just one more reason why this regime deserves its status as an international pariah.

Ales and his colleagues at the Viasna Human Rights Center are peaceful and patriotic voices for the freedom of the Belarusian people, and their continued persecution by the Lukashenko government is unacceptable. I have had the privilege of meeting Ales and many of his fellow Belarusian human rights advocates, and I call on the government in Minsk to immediately release him, as well as the many other prisoners of conscience who are still detained in Belarus. As long as Belarus remains held captive by the last dictatorship in Europe, the United States and Europe must remain united in supporting Belarusian civil society and political opposition, while increasing the pressure against the Lukashenko regime, including by denying international financial assistance."