Belarus: Statement by High Representative Josep Borrell on the trials against opposition leaders and journalists

17.01.2023 EEAS Press Team

Today, the Lukashenko regime started trials in absentia against leaders of the democratic opposition, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Pavel Latushka, and against three other members of the Coordination Council, further misusing the judiciary for political purposes. They are facing fabricated charges of treason, extremism, conspiracy and incitement to hatred and are risking up to 20 years of prison just for trying to exercise their democratic rights. The start of these trials comes after similar steps by the regime against Nobel prize winner Ales Bialiatski last week and a journalist and member of the board of independent Union of Poles of Belarus, Andrzej Poczobut.

The political repression by the regime of Lukashenko has reached an unprecedented level. There are now more than 1440 political prisoners. Arbitrary legislation deprives citizens of fundamental rights, including a new law making it possible to deprive Belarusians living abroad of their citizenship. This constitutes an ongoing violation of rights and freedoms of the people of Belarus and goes against international obligations by Belarus. The EU condemns this brutal repression and the politically motivated trials aimed at silencing any independent voices and closing all remaining space for democratic debate.

The European Union will continue to support all the brave women and men striving for a free, democratic and independent Belarus.

Peter Stano
Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0)460 75 45 53
Paloma Hall Caballero
Press Officer for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0)2 296 85 60
+32 (0)460 76 85 60