OSCE Condemns Belarus Torture, Calls for Fresh Presidential Vote

A protester draped in an old Belarusian national flag stands in front of a police line during an Oct. 25 opposition rally in Minsk, Belarus, to protest the official presidential election results. (AP Photo)

VIENNA (AFP) — A report from the OSCE election-monitoring organization published on Thursday condemned “massive” rights abuses and torture in Belarus and called for a rerun of the country’s August presidential polls in which President Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory.

The first major independent report into the election and subsequent crackdown by authorities said human rights abuses “were found to be massive and systematic and proven beyond doubt” and also recommended that the result of the vote should be annulled “due to irregularities at all stages of the process”.

The report by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) urged Belarus to “organize new genuine presidential elections based on international standards.”

The report was produced at the request of 17 states including France, the U.K. and the U.S. and is based on 700 submissions of evidence.

The rapporteur was not able to travel to Belarus, however, as Minsk refused to cooperate with the probe.

The report says that “with regard to the question of ‘election fraud’ the rapporteur comes to the conclusion that there were evident shortcomings of the presidential elections”, going on to say the vote was “not transparent, free or fair.”

© Agence France-Presse

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