France was concerned to learn of the hospitalization of opposition leader Viktor Babariko. A former candidate in the 2020 presidential election, he was arrested in June of that same year and sentenced to 14 years in prison by the Lukashenko regime. Reports that Viktor Babariko was subjected to mistreatment while in detention are especially troubling.
France condemns in the strongest possible terms the acts of violence – some of which constitute forms of torture – inflicted upon political prisoners in Belarus. It denounces the increasingly serious human rights violations in that country in defiance of the Belarusian government’s international commitments. Alexander Lukashenko and the Belarusian authorities’ harsh treatment of democratic opposition forces and all those who criticize the government is unacceptable.
In this context, France expresses its support for Viktor Babariko and his loved ones. It calls on the Belarusian authorities to respect Viktor Babariko’s right to receive visits from his attorneys and his families as well as access to appropriate medical care. Furthermore, France reiterates that the perpetrators of such abuses must not go unpunished and must be held accountable for their actions in a court of law.
Lastly, France renews its call for the immediate and unconditional release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners detained in Belarus.