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Belarusian Judge Rules Opposition Activist's Case Be Reviewed

Andrey Bandarenka

Andrey Bandarenka

A Minsk city court ruled today that the case of a jailed opposition activist be sent back and reviewed in a lower court, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Andrey Bandarenka, a member of the opposition United Civil Party (AGP), was found guilty of stealing property from his own company and sentenced to seven years in jail by Minsk's Pershamaysky District Court in October.

Human rights activists and AGP activists say the case against him is politically motivated.

The city court ruled today that not all the circumstances of his case were taken into consideration during the trial and therefore ruled to return the case to the district court for revision.

Bandarenka will stay in the detention center while his case is revised.

Bandarenka's lawyer, Zmitser Laeuski, told RFE/RL that the case could be reviewed in January.

AGP member Alyaksandr Dabravolsky told RFE/RL that the court's decision is a result of broad public awareness of Bandarenka's case,
attention to which was raised by party activists.

He added that the "political factor" played a huge role in the decision by the judge to review the case, which is highly unusual in a court case in Belarus involving an opposition activist.