Switzerland to send ambassador to Belarus
Switzerland plans to send its ambassador to Minsk soon. Christine Honegger Zolotukhin will be the first Western diplomat to present diplomatic credentials to Lukashenko after the rigged 2020 elections.
The Swiss Foreign Ministry confirmed these plans to Zerkalo.io, specifying that the presentation of letters is not considered recognition of Lukashenko’s legitimacy. “Our new ambassador will strive to convey Switzerland’s key demands to Belarus. These are, in particular, the release of all arbitrarily detained persons, investigation of serious cases of torture and ill-treatment, and ensuring freedom of speech,” commented Foreign Ministry spokesman Valentin Clivaz.
Experts believe that the desire to help political prisoner Natallia Hersche, a citizen of both Belarus and Switzerland, may be behind this decision. She was sentenced to 2.5 years in a penal colony for tearing off a balaclava from a riot policeman at one of the 2020 women’s marches. Hersche repeatedly went on hunger strikes to protest the unbearable detention conditions. The last one ended just yesterday, 2 February, after negotiations with the prison administration. The activist was repeatedly pressured to write a petition for pardon addressed to Lukashenko. However, she has steadfastly refused to do so as she considers herself innocent.