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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2004 > December
Press Statement
Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 23, 2004


Prosecution of Belarusian Opposition Figure Mikhail Marinich

On December 23, Mikhail Marinich, Belarus opposition political figure, went on trial in Minsk after being held for over 7 months on politically motivated charges. Belarusian authorities have accused Ambassador Marinich of, among other things, theft of equipment that the U.S. Government provided to his non-governmental organization "Business Initiative." The equipment has at all times remained property of the U.S., and the U.S. makes no claims against Ambassador Marinich or his organization regarding disposition of this equipment.

It is clear that the Belarus Government is prosecuting Ambassador Marinich for his political views. The current regime regrettably has done this to many other prominent Belarus opposition figures, including, most recently, Anatoliy Lebedko, who was charged with slander. We strongly condemn the flagrant abuse of the Belarus court system to persecute citizens for reason of their political beliefs. We call on the Belarusian Government to respect human and legal rights and promptly release Ambassador Marinich and other political figures who have been detained, charged and convicted on spurious charges.

2004/1399


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