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Wife of "Disappeared" Belarus Opposition Leader Still Seeks Justice

(Washington, DC-- November 26, 2003) Irina Krasovskaya, the wife of missing Belarus opposition leader Anatoly Krasovsky, said that she has dedicated herself to uncovering the facts behind her husband's disappearance and bringing those responsible to justice. Krasovskaya made the statement during a recent briefing at RFE/RL's Washington offices.

A key lobbyist at this year's annual session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva in favor of a resolution calling the government of Belarus to account for the disappearance of Krasovsky and three other opposition members, Krasovskaya has met with numerous European and U.S. officials regarding this matter. Krasovskaya believes "that a real investigation will be the first step to democracy" in her country, and remains confident that "sooner or later we will find the truth."

Krasovskaya considers the disappearances to be a warning by the government of Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka to his opponents, among them political activists, businessmen, and ordinary citizens: "There is a lot of opposition--but no action, because of fear." She noted that the opposition to Lukashenka "has recently become more united but is still not as strong" as the government. Krasovskaya claimed that members of the opposition "are continually being attacked" and that "there are many different ways of intimidating" them. She refused to speculate, however, about any possible activity by "death squads" that are alleged to exist in Belarus.

Krasovskaya said that political repression in Belarus has increased since the disappearances. She cites evidence for this in the crackdown on independent media and human rights monitoring groups, election fraud, refusal of the Lukashenka government to allow foreign investigators to help look into the disappearances, and Belarus's disregard of the resolution concerning the "disappeared" that was adopted this past April by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights -- "I do not know what Belarus will say next year to explain its inaction."

While the opinion of American authorities remains important to Lukashenka, Krasovskaya said, she does not consider recent calls by the Belarus government for enhanced cooperation with the West to be genuine. She advocates that the West enact a stricter policy towards Lukashenka's regime, stating: "The only way you can talk to a dictator is in the language of force."