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EU parliament calls for Belarus hockey switch

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EU parliament calls for Belarus hockey switch


Belarus should not host the 2014 ice hockey championships until the country’s human rights record improves, MEPs say.

Their resolution on Thursday also called for an end to the death penalty in the former Soviet republic following the execution of two young men this month for last year’s bomb blast on the Minsk underground. The tournament is the first major one of its kind to be held in Belarus.

‘‘I can’t believe that such a sports event, such a festivity can be organised in a country where people are imprisoned for their beliefs and their thoughts,” said Jacek Protasiewicz MEP.

The European parliament also praised Belarus’ anti-government protesters. But opposition leaders have called on the EU to not only use punitive measures.

‘‘You need to employ a carrot and stick with dictatorships. I’m for threatening the stick but there must be some carrot. Currently there isn’t enough. Belarus will only move to democracy if Europe can give it something in return,’‘
Aleksandr Milinkevich said.

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