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Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka suggested that he may soon make a decision on whether to grant the release of political prisoner Mikalay Statkevich.

«I don’t intend to play cat and mouse — the issue is on the agenda. It is only me who can resolve it. But I haven’t decided yet when to do it,» Lukashenka told the three independent Belarusian journalists who interviewed him today. And he added:

«If we release him, this will happen prior to the [presidential] election [on October 11]. If we don’t, then it won’t happen. You’ll find out in the near future».

Mikalaj Statkevich with his wife

Mikalaj Statkevich with his wife

Lukashenka pointed out that Statkevich was able to write a petition for pardon but has thus far refused to do so. «I can release a person if he files a petition for pardon, but he has not done so because he wants to be a hero.»

Mikalay Statkevich, a presidential candidate in the 2010 elections, was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of being an organizer of mass riots in Minsk. His release has since then been urged by the EU and the United States.