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Published:March 24th, 2006 07:26 EST
UN Expert Calls For  Detainees' Release

UN Expert Calls For Detainees' Release

By Leon (Producer) Leon

Following presidential elections in Belarus decried by monitors as neither free nor fair, a United Nations expert has strongly condemned numerous human rights violations by the Government against the independent press, opposition candidates and their supporters, and called for the immediate release of all political opponents.

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Adrian Severin, who already last week strongly condemned the Government’s actions ahead of Sunday’s vote, noted “with regret” that international monitors condemned arbitrary use of state power, widespread detentions, persistent disregard for the basic rights of freedom of assembly as well as allegations of fraud.

“The EP (European Parliament ) ad hoc delegation stated that Alexander Lukashenko cannot be recognized as the legitimate president of Belarus, as the elections were not free, fair or democratic and called for a re-run of the elections, as well as for an extension of European Union sanctions against Belarus,” Mr. Severin said in a statement issued in Geneva.

“The Special Rapporteur calls on the Government of Belarus to release immediately and unconditionally all political prisoners, and to bring all violations of freedom of expression and of the right of peaceful assembly to an immediate end,” the statement added, citing the detention of “numerous citizens peacefully demonstrating against the electoral results.”

Special Rapporteurs, who are unpaid and serve in a personal capacity, receive their mandates from the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Source: The UN