Lukashenka: Statkevich should be released before election if at all

"This question is on the agenda. I am the only person who can decide it. But I have not decided when it will happen. I have not considered the issue this way. He should be released before the election if at all. You will learn it soon. If we use the other variant, there is plenty of time.”

Statkevich was given a chance to plead pardon, Lukashenka said.

"He wants to stay in prison and be released like a hero. I have given him the chance and you are telling me to release him. What should I do? I can release people if they plead pardon but he won’t do it because he wants to be a hero.”

Ex-presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich was imprisoned for 6 years on charges of the organization of mass riots on the Election Day in 2010. Amnesty International considers Statkevich a prisoner of conscience. The European Union and USA insist on the politician’s release.