Lidzija Jarmoshyna, head of the central election commission, told reporters in Minsk on Friday that she had denied the existence of political prisoners in Belarus during a meeting with the observation mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights for Belarus' September 18-23 House of Representatives elections.
Political prisoners are people who were imprisoned for their convictions, Ms. Jarmoshyna said. The individuals who were convicted in connection with the December 19, 2010 post-election protest in Minsk were found guilty of disturbing public order and putting the lives of members of the central election commission in danger, she said.
International observers are brainwashed to believe that there are political prisoners in Belarus, Ms. Jarmoshyna noted.
As for the fact that former presidential candidate Mikalaj Statkievich remains in prison, it is unlikely to have had a significant impact on people's attitude toward the parliamentary elections in Belarus, she said.
The continued imprisonment of Mr. Statkievich made a difference only for those who view him as a friend, Ms. Jarmoshyna explained.