Source: M. (Martin) Schulz, published on Wednesday, May 11 2011.

EP President Jerzy Buzek, along with other leading Members of the European Parliament, have written to the President of the International Ice Hockey Federation urging the Federation to suspend its 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship in Minsk Belarus until all political prisoners in Belarus are released:

European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said:

"The behaviour of the Belarusian regime clearly disqualifies it from the privilege of holding a major sporting event such as the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship.

We urge the International Hockey Federation to take appropriate action to ensure that Lukashenko does not receive the international reward or legitimacy which comes with hosting the 2014 Ice Hockey Championship until he releases all political prisoners. Belarus has been ruled by the brutal and undemocratic Lukashenko regime for almost two decades. The EU and the US have strongly condemned Lukashenko's actions. His regime arrested hundreds of peaceful demonstrators including presidential candidates, opposition leaders, journalists, civil society representatives as well as ordinary Belarusians. The 2014 ice hockey championships cannot be held in Belarus under these appalling conditions."

Note to Editors:

European Parliament resolution of 20 January 2011 on the situation in Belarus, expressing its opinion that sport events, like the World Ice Hockey Championships in 2014, should not be held in Belarus while there are political prisoners in that country. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P7-TA-2011-0022+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN

The US Congress has also adopted a resolution calling for the World Ice Hockey Championships not to be held in Belarus.

The letter is co-signed by

Jerzy Buzek President of the European Parliament

Gabriele Albertini, Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs

Heidi Hautala, Chairwoman of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights

Jacek Protasiewicz, Chairman of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with Belarus

Peter Stastny, Member of the European Parliament, Member of Hockey Hall of Fame and IIHF Hall of Fame

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