Emmanuel Zeltzer leaves for USA this morning

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The American lawyer was pardoned by the President and released from Mahileu colony yesterday.

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Representatives of the American consulate arrived in Mahileu colony at
about 10 p.m. The lawyer Dzmitry Harachka has informed ERB that they
have come to take away an American citizen Emmanuel Zeltzer.

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Alyaksandr Lukashenka has signed the pardon of an American citizen Emmanuel Zeltzer today. It happened after a meeting of the Belarusian leader with a delegation of the US Congress. The head of the Congress Helsinki Committee Benjamin Cardin and senators Chris Smith and Dick Durbin took part in it.

An American Senator Benjamin Cardin told Minsk journalists that Alyaksandr Lukashenka had promised to release imprisoned Emmaneul Zeltzer by the end of the day.

Benjamin Cardin: We had a very frank and open conversation about Mr. Zeltzer. We stressed that his urgent release was needed in respect to humaneness. The President noted that the earliest term for it was today. So we are hoping that it will happen by the end of the day.

Nevertheless, the lawyer of the American citizen Dzmitry Harachka has informed that Emanuel Zeltzer was still in the colony on the evening of June 30 and that the administration was taking its time before releasing him.

Let us remind you that Zeltzer was sentenced to three years of imprisonment for using fake documents and commercial spying attempts in August 2008.

Benjamin Cardin also mentioned that the US administration was worried about the fact that Belarus did not correspond to international standards in the field of human rights. He also noted that Belarus would benefit from trade and economic relations with Europe and the USA if it started reforms. The Senator claimed that the US Congress would watch the situation concerning human rights and free elections in Belarus.

Besides the meeting with Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the American congressmen met representatives of the civil community. According to a participant of the meeting Anatol Lyabedzka, the Americans announced a formula: credits and investments in exchange for an internal political dialogue and free elections combined with the absence of political prisoners and a moratorium on political repressions.

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More information about the issue:

Chavusau: Emmanuel Zeltzer impeded Belarusian-American dialogue

Anton Valatkovіch

A political scientist Yury Chavuau says that the release of an American citizen Emmanuel Zeltzer testifies to the fact that “Belarusian-American relations do exist”.

The imprisonment of an American citizen in Belarus was an obstacle to the solution of problems existing in the Belarusian-American relations.

Chavusau: “This is a minimal term that was needed to start a dialogue. In fact, the obstacle has been eliminated which means that the diplomatic conflict will be settled. Maybe the sanctions imposed by the American government on Belarusian officials will be slackened”.

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Yakauleuskі: Zeltzer was a hostage in somebody’s game

Anton Valatkovіch

An observer Raman Yakauleuski considers the release of an American lawyer Emmanuel Zeltzer serving a three-year sentence in Mahileu colony #15 to be a positive fact in the bilateral relations. However, he suggested not making any optimistic forecasts.

Yakauleuski: “I’d suggest listening to what Zeltzer will say after the release. He promised to say something that would surprise and puzzle the whole world. If it does not happen, it will be considered a positive step and should be welcomed. It will also be necessary to regret that an American citizen was small change in somebody’s game”.

Raman Yakauleuski regretted that the American was a hostage in somebody’s game. The political scientist has an impression that the amnesty was not applied to the American on purpose – they kept waiting for the time when it would be possible “to sell” the fate of Emmanuel Zelter at a bigger price.

Photo by: Gazeta.ru