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Belarus: President Pardons Emanuel Zeltser

On June 30, a U.S. Congress delegation visited Minsk. The Congressmen had a meeting with Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko. During this meeting, members of the U.S. delegation asked the president to pardon Emanuel Zeltser, an American lawyer who, in August 2008, was “sentenced to three years in prison on charges of ‘attempted industrial espionage’ and the use of fake documents.” Lukashenko said he could do it and signed the pardon later that day.

Adam Goodman of The Being Had Times re-posted a BelTA article about the U.S. delegation's visit on his blog and here is a quote from it:

[…] During the meeting members of the US delegation addressed the President of Belarus with a request to use powers of the head of state to free US citizen Emanuel Zeltser, who had been serving his sentence in Belarus for committing a criminal offence.

Alexander Lukashenko emphasised that the US citizen had violated Belarusian laws. “He was arrested in our country and sentenced in accordance with Belarusian laws. Even US Charge d’Affaires a.i. in Belarus Jonathan Moore does not deny it. I have never thought that this man could become an issue in relations between our countries. Yes, according to Belarusian laws, according to the Constitution I can grant a pardon to Emanuel Zeltser. You have asked this of me, right? If it is very important for America and our relations and contributes to normalising our relations, I will sign the pardon today,” said the head of state. […]

On Wednesday, at 5:30 a.m., Zeltser flew back to the United States.

Belarusian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (LJ user radio_svaboda) invited bloggers to ask Zeltser some questions via the by_politics LJ community [BEL]. Only a few bloggers have responded so far, and LJ user lipkovich was the first one to [RUS]. Below are three of the six questions that he asked:

1. Is it true that you were arrested right after the negotiations at the Presidential Administration?

[…]

3. Would you seek material compensation from our country?

[…]

6. As far as we know, you were released following a pardon decree. Does it mean that all charges against you have been removed? If yes, do you plan to continue working on inheritance cases in Belarus?

So far, Zeltser has not replied to LJ user lipkovich and a few other Belarusian bloggers who are attempting to interact with him via an LJ community focused on Belarusian politics.

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