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Belarusian Activists Wed In Jail



WATCH: Svyatlana Gorokhovik prepares for her wedding to jailed Belarusian activist Pavel Vinahradau.

Like most couples, Svyatlana Gorokhovik and Pavel Vinahradau had dreamed of a wedding filled with merriment, friends and champagne.

This is difficult, however, when the groom is serving time in a drab Belarusian prison.

Instead, the young couple had to settle for a no-frills ceremony at the jail where Vinahradau is serving a four-year sentence for taking part in protests in December against the disputed re-election of Belarus' authoritarian leader, Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Gorokhovik, 24, and Vinahradau, 23, were scheduled to exchange vows on July 22 at a high-security prison in the southern Belarusian city of Ivatsevichy.

Despite the lackluster venue and a prison ban on champagne, Gorokhovik indicated RFE/RL in this video that she determined to make the most of her wedding day.

The marriage will mark the end of a seven-month separation for the young couple. Since Vinahradau's detention in December, they had seen each other only at his court trial and during several prison visits when they spoke through a glass window.

Gorokhovik says Vinahradau proposed to her in a letter while in jail. As a married couple, they will now have the right to several three-day reunions every year.

Having a wife outside prison, she hopes, will also help him endure the remaining three-and-a-half years he must spend behind bars.

-- Claire Bigg (with reporting by RFE/RL's Belarus Service)

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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