Today, the ICJ expressed deep concern over the sentencing of former Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir to three years imprisonment, suspended for two years, for allegedly abusing his power in office.
In the current context of political persecution in the country there are reasons to believe that the charge was politically motivated to silence a leading opposition figure and likely presidential candidate in Belarus.
The ICJ takes this opportunity to voice once again its grave concern over the constant harassment of the democratic opposition in Belarus, the brutality used against those who have the courage to demonstrate or voice their opinion, and the closure of numerous opposition media outlets in the country.
On this occasion the ICJ stated that « it is absolutely unacceptable that whoever dares to speak out in favour of democracy, human rights, the rule of law and a return to constitutionalism in Belarus, is swiftly silenced, either through prosecution and detention, or through enforced disappearance ».
The ICJ calls upon the international community to exert maximum pressure on the Government of Belarus to ensure that the very serious human rights situation there be put on the agenda.
Photo by Charter 97