Belarus Releases Political Prisoner on Schedule
Freedom House welcomes the release of Belarusian political activist Alyaksandr Frantskevich, 23, following a three-year term in prison. Frantskevich was sentenced in May 2011 in the so-called “anarchists case,” in which he and four others were found guilty of attacks against government buildings, in 2009 and 2010. Penitentiary authorities did not attempt to delay his release by adding to his sentence while he was serving time, a common pattern with political prisoners, and instead let his original term expire. Following his release, Frantskevich, like some other former political prisoners, will spend six months under “preventative police supervision,” which includes a strict curfew, a travel ban and other personal freedom limitations.
Upon his release, Frantskevich said that he would continue his political activities as a member of an anarchist group. While he must present himself for police supervision in the small town of Navapolatsk, the young activist will seek to be transferred to Minsk for a work opportunity.
Ten other political prisoners remain behind bars in Belarus, including Frantskevich’s co-defendants Ihar Alinevich and Mikalay Dzyadok, who were sentenced to eight and four and a half years in prison respectively. The next political prisoner whose term will run out is Pavel Sevyarynets, the co-chair of the Belarus Christian Democracy party, who is supposed to be released on October 19, 2013.
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