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Foreign Office disappointed by conduct of recent Belarus elections

Following the elections that took place in Belarus on 23 September, the UK Government has expressed its regret at the way they were carried out.

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A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said:

We note the OSCE assessment that the elections were neither free nor fair. This is clearly disappointing. Whilst we welcome the improvements to the electoral law made in advance of these elections, they did not go far enough. We call on the government of Belarus to work constructively with the OSCE on further reforms.

We remain concerned about the detention of journalists and human rights defenders. We were dismayed by the decision to sentence opposition youth leader Zmitser Dashkevich to an extra year in detention. We send our best wishes to Ales Bialiatski on his 50th birthday and call on the government of Belarus to release him soon.

The UK remains very concerned about the difficult conditions in which they and all political prisoners are being held. We call again for their release and full rehabilitation.

Published 26 September 2012