MINSK, October 21. /TASS/. The Belarusian Coordination Council demanded complete release of all political prisoners, stating Wednesday that change of measure of restraint only confuses the public.
"Seven people have been transferred to home arrest, including council presidium member Liliya Vlasova, under the garb of release. But replacement of the measure of restraint is not a release. It is only a change of detention conditions. It is a clumsy imitation, illusion, which aims to confuse the public," the council said in its statement.
The council believes that "a release implies a total and unconditional cessation of deliberately and illegally initiated criminal cases and criminal persecution of all political prisoners."
On October 10, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko met with a number of opposition figures, including ex-presidential candidate Viktor Babariko, in the National Security Committee (KGB) detention facility. After that meeting, several members of the opposition were released. The investigators changed the measure of restraint for political scientist Yuri Voskresensky and PandaDoc employees, including its Minsk office head Dmitry Rabtsevich. Later, political technologist Vitaly Shklyarov, attorney Ilya Saley and Coordination Council Presidium member Liliya Vlasova have also been moved to house arrest.
Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped.