Concerning the arrest of Alyaksandr Milinkevich, leader of the Belarusian Democratic Forces, Fritz Kuhn, spokesperson for the Alliance 90/The Greens parliamentary group in the German Bundestag, and Marieluise Beck, member of the Bundestags Committee on Foreign Affairs, issue the following statement:
The arrest of Alyaksandr Milinkevich, leader of the Belarusian Democratic Forces and presidential candidate, and of two other party chairmen, Syarhei Kalyakin and
Alyaksandr Bykhovostau, is a brazen violation of human rights. It is also a targeted provocation to all who promote democratic rights in and outside Belarus. We demand that Lukashenko immediately free Milinkevich, his co-defendants and all other political prisoners in Belarus.
Recently Milinkevich met high-ranking representatives of various western countries and the European Union, including the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. We call on Ms Merkel to use her contacts with President Putin to urge him to exert influence on Lukashenko. The special relationship between Russia and Belarus also signifies that Russia has a special responsibility for developments in Belarus. The threat of a sweeping blow against the democratic opposition in Belarus has to be countered immediately.