Release of Prisoners in Belarus

Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
Statement by John Kirby, Spokesperson
August 23, 2015

The United States welcomes the August 22 release from prison in Belarus of Mikalai Statkevich, Ihar Alinevich, Mikalai Dziadok, Evgeniy Vackovich, Artyom Prokopenko, and Yuriy Rubtsov.  The release of these six political prisoners is a positive development for the people of Belarus and an important step toward normalizing relations with the United States.  We reiterate our call for the Government of Belarus to restore the political rights of these six and other former political prisoners.

We also encourage Belarus to honor the U.S.-Belarus December 2010 joint statement and conduct its upcoming elections in line with the standards of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which will further improve our bilateral relationship.  These steps will strengthen Belarusian sovereignty and independence, which the United States unequivocally and firmly supports.