LUKASHENKO FREES DISSIDENTS TO REPAIR LINKS WITH EU
- Authoritarian Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has freed two prominent opponents from prison in an apparent attempt to soothe ties with the European Union after it tightened sanctions against his regime.
Former senior diplomat Andrei Sannikov and ally Dmitry Bondarenko were freed over the weekend, ending jail terms they received for their roles in protests against Mr Lukashenko's allegedly fraudulent victory in a December 2010 election, in which Sannikov was a candidate.
"Thank you all for your support and solidarity," Mr Sannikov told supporters as he arrived in Minsk on Saturday.
"I will continue my political activity so that Belarus becomes a free European country," said Mr Bondarenko, whose wife, Olga, added: "This is without doubt the result of European sanctions."
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, in his role as chairman of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, welcomed the release of the dissidents but said he was "concerned over the fate of other jailed political opponents".
- 1879 Death in Moscow (Russia) of Stepanos Nazaryan, editor of the "Aurora Borealis". He was born in 1812.
- 1918 The "Messenger Book" daily is published in Tbilissi (Georgia): the first Soviet newspaper in Armenian.
- 1923 The Soviet of People's Committee of the Armenian SSR creates the State Cinema of Soviet Armenia (HayFilm).
- 1953 Academician Hrachia Atcharyan (linguist) dies in Yerevan. He was born in 1876.
- 1958 Death of composer Vagharshak Srvandztian.
- 1959 The Armenian SSR Supreme Soviet confirms the new Education Policy of Armenia.
- 1984 The US House of Representatives accepts a resolution (number 247) requesting that the Government announce that 1985 04 24 be designated a "National Day of Commemoration of Man's Inhumanity to Man".
- 1984 The Permanent People's Tribunal recognized the Armenian Genocide.
- 1998 An international seminar took place in the Sorbonne (Paris) on the Armenian Genocide. It was organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party and financed by the See of Cilicia.