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Belarusian Political Prisoner Released, Restraints on Free Expression Continue
Following Belarus’ release of Vasil Parfiankov, a political activist imprisoned after publicly showing solidarity with Belarusian political prisoners in 2013, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Parfiankov’s release after serving a full one-year sentence brings little consolation,” said Robert Herman, vice president for regional programs at Freedom House. “We are relieved that he is finally able to rejoin his family and friends, but the end of his prison term does not alter the fact that arrests of Parfiankov and many others were motivated primarily by these individuals actively promoting the vision of a free and democratic Belarus. Six more political prisoners remain behind bars in Belarus in deplorable conditions and should be immediately released and their records cleared.”
Belarus is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2014 , Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2014, Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2014, and receives a democracy score of 6.68 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2014.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.