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European Parliament Calls On Rehabilitation Of Ex-Prisoners In Belarus

STRASBOURG, France -- The European Parliament has called on Belarus to rehabilitate released political prisoners and to fully restore their civil and political rights.

In a resolution overwhelmingly passed on September 10, EU lawmakers welcomed the release in August of major political prisoners, including former presidential candidate Mikalay Statkevich, but stressed that they remain "deeply concerned by the human rights and fundamental freedoms situation in Belarus."

The resolution says that similar steps in the past "were rather token gestures and neither contributed to improving the situation of Belarusian society nor improved relations with the EU."

It also calls on Minsk to allow the opposition to compete in the October presidential elections on an equal footing.

There is no mention in the text of the EU's restrictive measures such as asset freezes and visa bans which were imposed on President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and up to 200 others after the 2010 presidential elections.