Updated at 13:22,17-06-2024

Dzmitry Bandarenka`s woes can prompt EU to expand economic sanctions against Belarus


The woes of imprisoned politician Dzmitry Bandarenka, who underwent back surgery this week, can prompt the Council of the European Union to expand its economic sanctions against Minsk, Jacek Protasiewicz, head of the European Parliament`s Delegation for Relations with Belarus, said in an interview with Polskie Radio on Thursday.

"I will personally talk to the Polish foreign minister, who is now president-in-office of the EU, to ask for particular attention to be paid to Mr. Bandarenka`s case so that the treatment of this prisoner could influence a decision whether the economic sanctions should be broadened," said Mr. Protasiewicz.

Referring to unnamed diplomats, the MEP said that EU foreign ministers had already drawn up a list of Belarusian companies that could be subjected to sanctions. "There is a complete understanding. The list is ready. Now the matter depends only on political decisions," said Mr. Protasiewicz.

He pledged that he would do everything possible to prevent the Belarusian authorities from ordering the transfer of Mr. Bandarenka to a correctional institution to serve his prison term without allowing him to undergo a proper rehabilitation course beforehand.

He said that Mr. Bandarenka’s family had earlier sent his medial records to him and he had asked the Polish health minister to find an expert who could study them. A Polish neurologist confirmed that Mr. Bandarenka needed a surgical intervention, warning that he should not perform any physical activity for a while after it, said Mr. Protasiewicz.

"On the basis of the doctor’s opinion, we will redouble our effort to force the Belarusian authorities into dropping their intention to transfer Mr. Bandarenka to the correctional institution or a labor camp," said Mr. Protasiewicz. "There is an expert opinion issued by an independent professional that he [Mr. Bandarenka] can really become disabled as a result of this."

On April 27, a district judge in Minsk sentenced Mr. Bandarenka, a former campaign aide to presidential candidate Andrey Sannikaw, to two years in a low-security prison, finding him guilty of organizing disturbances and participating in them in connection with a post-election protest staged in Minsk on December 19, 2010.