Alyaksandr Kazulin (file photo) (RFE/RL)
July 18, 2006 -- The European Union today condemned the jailing of a prominent Belarusian opposition leader to five and a half years in prison.
In a statement, the EU described the sentence passed on Alyaksandr Kazulin as "politically motivated" and called for the immediate release of Kazulin and "all other political prisoners" in the country.
Kazulin was jailed for leading antigovernment demonstrations against the official results of the country's controversial presidential election this March.
The EU Watches Minsk
Belarusian students studying at an EU-funded university in Vilnius, Lithuania
WATCHING AND WAITING: The European Union repeatedly urged Minsk to conduct a fair and democratic presidential election on March 19. The EU external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said in a statement today that the recent arrests of Belarusian opposition figures are "unacceptable" campaign violations. Ferrero-Waldner repeated an EU threat of "targeted sanctions" against top Belarusian officials if the elections are not free and fair. However, the EU will withhold final judgment until March 20, when the bloc's foreign ministers meet in Brussels....(more)