Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the Conviction of Former Belarusian Presidential Candidate

July 18, 2006

  1. Japan is deeply concerned at the sentencing of former Belarusian presidential candidate Aleksandr Kozulin on July 13th, the leader of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party "Hramada", to five and-a-half years imprisonment for alleged "hooliganism" and "organizing and participating in group activities that gravely violated the public order". Mr.Kozulin was arrested by the Belarusian authorities on March 25th, when protesting for not fulfilling democratic principles.
  2. Japan has been supporting the consolidation of democracy in Belarus by dispatching observers to the presidential election in March and other measures. Japan expressed its concern to the Belarusian authorities that the March presidential election did not meet the democratic standards and has required them to secure democratic principals.
  3. Japan will continue to extend possible assistance to as well as place pressure on the Belarusian authorities in order to urge them to make efforts toward democratization.

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