February 9 marks 18 months since the presidential elections in Belarus in August 2020. On this occasion, the representative office of the European Union for Belarus made a statement.
Peter Stano, the Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, noted that after a year and a half, wide-spread human rights violations and repression continue in Belarus, and also recalled the 1,040 political prisoners in Belarusian prisons.
“New politically motivated sentences are reported every day. Many detainees have been subjected to abuse and ill-treatment and have been condemned to long prison sentences in political trials conducted behind closed doors. The European Union continues to call for their immediate and unconditional release. Together with our international partners, we are working to secure justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators. Hundreds of journalists have been forced to leave the country in face of persecution. Belarusian authorities have outlawed independent journalism, and citizens are harassed for seeking access to any independent reporting,” he said.
The spokesperson added that in spite of extreme pressure, Belarusian journalists continue to “provide crucial coverage to their audiences inside and outside Belarus”, and the European Union and its Member States will continue to support Belarusian independent journalism and the people of Belarus in general as they seek a safe, sovereign, democratic and prosperous future.