Martin Uggla: Lukashenka clears political field ahead of ice hockey championship
15:37, — Politics
Mass arrests of opposition activists again prove Belarus's shameful understanding of the right to host the Ice Hockey World Championship.
Martin Uggla, the chairman of Sweden-based Ostgruppen human rights initiative, spoke to charter97.org about the mass arrests of opposition activists.
“It is connected to the Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk. Lukashenka said straightly he didn't want 'provocations' during the championship. We can say that he begins to clear political field ahead of the event,” Martin Uggla is confident.
The human rights defender noted it would be interesting to see the reaction of ice hockey federations, because they are also responsible for the organising of the event and should react to the such cases.
“If it continues like that, it's possible that there will be no famous activists in Minsk who would be able to hold actions during matches showing there's a dictatorship in Belarus. Of course, the authorities cannot arrest everybody, but they want to maximally isolate and intimidate all politically active people,” he thinks.
The human rights defender is convinced that the actions by the Lukashenka regime again show that choosing Belarus for holding the world championship was a mistake.
“I was saying from the very beginning and continue saying that the decision to give dictator Lukashenka the right of hosting the world championship is a shame,” Martin Uggla said.
Zmitser Dashkevich, a co-head of Young Front, was sentenced today to 25 days in custody. He will remain behind bars almost till the end of the Ice Hockey World Championship. Preventive supervision for Zmena's leader Pavel Vinahradau was extended for six months yesterday. Vinahradau took the police's advice to move from Minsk to Berazino for a period of the championship to avoid administrative sanctions.
Two days ago, judge Anastasia Asipchyk from Minsk's Zavadski district court sentenced activist Illia Dabratvor to 10 days in custody. On April 22, coordinator of the European Belarus civil campaign Maksim Viniarski received 12 days in custody on false accusations.