Sakharov prize: Lobau, Statkevich, Bialiatski believe in 'free and democratic' Belarus

Marek Migalski says the tragic events of December 2010 and the many people still suffering under the Belarusian regime cannot be forgotten.

By Marek Migalski MEP

07 Oct 2013

I was very happy to acknowledge that Belarusian political prisoners have been shortlisted to the Sakharov prize, because sometimes it seems to me like the parliament had already given up on Belarus.

However, we cannot forget about the tragedy of many people living there. Let me cite the events of 19 December 2010, when a peaceful demonstration against the rigged presidential elections in Belarus was held at independence square.

Thousands of Belarusians who were tired and dispirited under the rule of president Alexander Lukashenko went to the streets of Minsk to stand against the dictatorship.

They have been beaten, imprisoned and tortured. Nearly three years after these events some activists, as well as opposition politicians, are still in prison or enjoy limited freedom.

"Thousands of Belarusians who were tired and dispirited under the rule of president Alexander Lukashenko went to the streets of Minsk to stand against the dictatorship"

They were punished by the Belarusian authorities for their wish of democratic change in the country and for their fight for the values that underpin the European Union - freedom, democracy and respect for human rights.

Among those who remain imprisoned are the 2010 presidential candidate Mykola Statkevich and a member of "Malady Front" Eduard Lobau. Belarusian authorities also punished human rights activists who were helping people detained on suspicion of participation in a demonstration at independence square and their families.

One of those people is Ales Bialiatski - the president of the human rights centre 'Viasna' and vice-president of the international federation for human rights.

Although almost three years have passed we should not forget independence square. Mykola Statkevich, Ales Bialiatski, Eduard Lobau still have faith in the ideals and values that guided them through the independence square and they believe that thanks to their struggle and sacrifice Belarus finally will be free and democratic.