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Belarusian Activist Complains Of Prison Parcel's Nondelivery

Belarusian opposition activist Anzhela Kambalava

Belarusian opposition activist Anzhela Kambalava

BARANAVICHY, Belarus -- A Belarusian opposition party official has filed a formal complaint with prison officials for failing to deliver a care package to a jailed Belarusian activist, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Anzhela Kambalava, chairwoman of the opposition United Civic Party's (AHP) branch in the central town of Baranavichy, told RFE/RL on December 6 that she sent a written complaint to the warden of prison No. 13 in the eastern town of Hlybokaye protesting the rejection of a package she sent to Zmitser Dashkevich.

Kambalava said she sent some tea, chocolate, and other items for her jailed friend, but prison authorities officially refused her parcel by explaining in written form and telling her verbally that "you are not Dashkevich's relative."

"I was shocked when they returned the parcel back to me and told me that it was rejected because I am not [Dashkevich's] relative," she said. "Why do only relatives have a right to send parcels to Dashkevich? Where is it written? It is the first time in my life I have heard about such a regulation."

Kambalava added that she has asked the warden in her written complaint to explain to her when and why it had been ruled that inmates can receive packages only from their relatives, and who was behind the decision.

She also urged the warden to annul such a regulation, if it actually exists. "I wonder if you mixed contemporary legislation with a medieval charter," Kambalava wrote in her complaint.

Dashkevich, who heads the political organization Youth Front, and Youth Front activist Eduard Lobau, were sentenced on March 24 to two and four years in jail, respectively, after being found guilty of assaulting two people in Minsk on December 18 2010, one day before the disputed presidential election.

Dashkevich says he is not guilty of the crime and has staged numerous protests while in jail.

Amnesty International has officially recognized Dashkevich and Lobau as prisoners of conscience.

Read more in Belarusian here