Statement by the spokesperson of the High Representative Catherine Ashton on the situation in Belarus

Brussels, 28 June 2012. The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today:

High Representative Ashton is deeply concerned about numerous reports over the last weeks ofacts of harassment of representatives of civil society, the opposition and independent media inBelarus, including the sentencing of Vasil Parfyankow to six months’ detention, and last week’sarrest of journalist Andrzej Poczobut for alleged libel against the President.

The High Representative is also concerned of recent legislative developments with draft bills thataim at increasing the repressive powers of the KGB and restricting independent monitoring ofpublic opinion, at a moment when Belarus prepares for parliamentary elections in September.

High Representative Ashton calls on the authorities of Belarus to reverse the current repressivepolicies, and to stop all acts of harassment of the opposition, media and civil society.”

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