Early today, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka authorized the release of Emanuel Zeltser, reports U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairperson of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. While details are still pending, it appears that Mr. Zeltser is to be released later this evening.
Mr. Zeltser was imprisoned in March 2008 after being convicted of espionage in a closed trial. It has been reported that during his imprisonment Mr. Zeltser had been brutally beaten and denied medical care.
"We welcome the release of Emanuel Zeltser on humanitarian grounds. However, we made it clear to President Lukashenka today that the only way to improve the relationship between our countries is for him to increase political freedom and respect for human rights," said Chairperson Cardin.