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Claims that Belarus bargains release of “political prisoners” for West support dismissed as “nonsense”

MINSK, 9 September (BelTA) - Claims that Belarus is trying to bargain the release of the people convicted for rioting in Minsk on 19 December 2010 support for the West support are complete nonsense, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko told media.

The head of state was asked to comment on the statements from the opposition that the government is making concessions, including the release of the December riot participants because of the crisis and the need to get financial aid from the West. “We are not bargaining with anyone. We are not interested. If someone thinks that this is the time of the crisis and we are looking for support in the West through the fifth column, he is mistaken. The West has never supported us and it is unlikely it will,” the Belarusian leader said.

Alexander Lukashenko noted that Belarus has no political articles in the Penal Code, and therefore we cannot talk about political prisoners. “We have articles which punish thugs, gangsters, slackers, and other trash who disturb public order,” the President said.

Alexander Lukashenko reiterated that while in Kazakhstan in May this year he stated about possible pardoning of the December street rioters. “I said: the time will come and they will be freed,” the head of state noted.

As regards the opposition, Alexander Lukashenko emphasized that he calls them the fifth column for a reason. “The opposition is different from the fifth column because they love their country and people. They can disagree with the current political course but they still love their country and their people,” he noted and cited as an example the recent arrest of one of the opposition leaders who had considerable bank accounts.

“Their opposition is business. They do not care about the country and people. They are not interested in this. They do everything to destroy the country and grab the presidential seat,” the Belarusian leader said.