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Tadeusz Iwinski (Poland)

Tadeusz Iwinski

"Thank you, Mr President.

"Mr Strässer's report has its own long story. This issue first appeared years ago in relation to the accession of Armenia and Azerbaijan to our Organisation.

"I am speaking as a scholar rather than as a politician. It is difficult to get everyone's agreement on any definition in the social sciences.

"For example, although the definition of "prisoner of war" seems to be clear we still encounter bizarre interpretations of it even today.

"The definition of "political prisoner" seems, to some extent at least, to belong to a political category – it is delicate or even "tricky", as the Americans would say.

"Many Spaniards could see it in the light of ETA's activities, Britons could see it in the light of the IRA's operations and Turks could consider it in the light of the PKK.

"Many people could perceive the members of the band Pussy Riot as political prisoners, and the Tymoshenko case in Ukraine could be seen as equally controversial.

"The rapporteur is right to state in paragraph 4:"Those deprived of their personal liberty for terrorist crimes shall not be considered political prisoners if they have been prosecuted and sentenced for such crimes according to national legislation and the European Convention on Human Rights". However, as has been mentioned, there is no approved definition of "terrorism".

"The amendment proposed to the draft resolution is reasonable. By and large, we need to avoid the situation described colourfully in the Chinese proverb about two people sleeping in the same bed but having quite different dreams."

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