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18.02.2014

Political prisoners and their relatives require Israel to withdraw ambassador from Belarus  ? 61

1:14, — Politics
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Political prisoners and their relatives require Israel to withdraw ambassador from Belarus

Appeal with this request was sent to the President, the Prime Minister and the Chairman of the Knesset of Israel.

Belarusians, who have passed through prisons for political reasons, as well as relatives of prisoners of conscience in such a way reacted to the scandalous statement of the Israeli ambassador to Belarus Iosif Shagal, who had called the Belarusian political prisoners as "criminals".

Website charter97.org publishes full text of the document:

The President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres

The Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The Speaker of the Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein

On 6 February this year the Ambassador of the State of Israel in Belarus, Iosif Shagal, in an interview for the TV channel RTVI, referred to those citizens of Belarus - who had been tried on politically motivated charges and in contravention of the law found guilty as "criminals", imprisoned for "an attack on Parliament and for stone throwing". These "criminals" are recognised throughout the world as political prisoners.

Recognising that "from the point of view of Poland or the European Union they are political prisoners", the Ambassador added that from the point of view of the State of Israel, "they are criminals, because in their country there is an article in the Criminal Code that covers acts of hooliganism, stone throwing, mocking the authorities, that sort of thing". This is a truly astounding conclusion it is difficult to conceive of an undemocratic regime which would have laws ascribing political motivation to acts of opposition to the authorities. It is much easier to describe them simply as criminal. No other diplomats accredited in Belarus have ever expressed views similar to those of Mr Shagal.

This is not the first time that Mr Shagal has made statements of this kind. It is, however, the first occasion that he has presented his views as the official position of the State of Israel.

The international community has on numerous occasions had cause to discuss the human rights situation in Belarus. Human rights infringements and the existence of political prisoners have led to the imposition of visa sanctions on many of the countrys senior officials. Even the Belarusian authorities de facto recognise that there are political prisoners in the country.

We, former political prisoners and relatives of political prisoners both past and present wish to put a question to you:

Does the position of Ambassador Iosif Shagal reflect the official position of the State of Israel regarding both problems of human rights and political prisoners in Belarus, and sanctions imposed by the European Union on Belarusian officials.

We urge you to clarify the official attitude of the State of Israel to what has been said by Ambassador Shagal, either to support or to refute it.

While it is not for us to interfere with the personnel policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel, we believe it is self-evident that in the light of the aforementioned statements, which are insulting to the democratic community in Belarus, the continued tenure of Mr Shagal in his position as Ambassador will hardly promote the positive image of the State of Israel in Belarusian society.

Yours respectfully,

Maryna Adamovich, wife of political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich

Maryna Lobava, mother of political prisoner Eduard Lobau

Natalya Pinchuk, wife of political prisoner Ales Bialiacki

Yuri Jakubowski , stepfather of political prisoner Eduard Lobau

Valiantsina Alinevich, mother of political prisoner Igor Alinevich

Vladimir Alinevich, father of political prisoner Igor Alinevich

Valeria Hotina, wife of political prisoner Mikalai Dziadok

Alexander Dziadok, father of political prisoner Mikalai Dziadok

Natallia Radzina, editor-in-chief of charter97.org, former political prisoner

Valiantsina Yaromenak, wife of political prisoner Uladzimir Yaromenak

Pavel Seviarynets, former political prisoner

Nasta Dashkevich , former political prisoner

Zmitser Dashkevich, former political prisoner

Alena Likhavid, mother of former political prisoner Mikita Likhavid

Ales Michalevic, former presidential candidate and former political prisoner

Milana Michalevic, wife of former political prisoner Ales Michalevic

Liudmila Mirzayanova, mother of political prisoner Fedor Mirzayanov

Claudia Bulanava, mother of former political prisoner Dmitry Bulanov

Dmitry Bulanov, former political prisoner

Maryna Shybko, wife of former political prisoner Aliaksandr Fiaduta

Andrei Sannikov, former presidential candidate and former political prisoner

Iryna Khalip, former political prisoner

Tatiana Seviarynets, mother of former political prisoner Pavel Seviarynets

Sergey Skrebets, former political prisoner

Pavel Vinogradov, former political prisoner

Svetlana Vinogradova, wife of former political prisoner Pavel Vinogradov

Sergey Parsyukevich, former political prisoner

Aliaxandr Atroshchankau, former political prisoner

Darya Korsak, wife of former political prisoner Aliaxandr Atroshchankau

Andrey Kim, a former political prisoner

Dmitriy Drozd, former political prisoner

Sergey Kazakov, former political prisoner

Andrzej Poczobut, former political prisoner

Aliaxey Shydlouski, former political prisoner

Aliaxandr Klaskouski, former political prisoner

Fiodar Mirzayanau, former political prisoner

Aliaxandr Frantskevich, former political prisoner

Enira Bronitskaya, former political prisoner

Alexander Molchanov, former political prisoner

Alexander Kozulin, former presidential candidate and former political prisoner

Sergey Kazakov, former political prisoner

Mikita Likhavid, former political prisoner

Ales Kirkevich, former political prisoner

Mikalaj Dzemidzenka, former political prisoner

Zmitser Bandarenka, former political prisoner

Uladzimir Kobets, former political prisoner


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