Lithuanian Foreign Minister meets Belyatsky, calls for prisoner release in Belarus
Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius met with Belarusian human rights activist Ales Belyatsky in Vilnius on Friday and called for the release of all political prisoners in Belarus.
"You have gone through a lot. And your case is a very expensive lesson for us and our institutions. We hope you will continue your work," Linkevičius was quoted as saying in a statement.
Belyatsky was released last week after spending almost three years in prison.He was imprisoned in 2011 when Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko launched a crackdown on the opposition. He was unexpectedly given amnesty and released on Saturday.
Director of human rights organization Vyasna, helping victims of Lukashenko's political oppression, Belyatsky has received several prestigious European awards an has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times.
In November, 2011, he was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for tax evasion as Vyasna used bank accounts in Poland and Lithuania to collect funds then used to provide assistance to political prisoners. Under Belarusian law, such activities are illegal.