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Jailed Belarusian Activist's Fiancee Also Jailed


Nasta Palazhanka at a protest in May

Nasta Palazhanka at a protest in May

DRYBIN, Belarus -- The fiancee of a jailed Belarusian youth activist has herself been sentenced to 12 days in jail for taking part in a protest near the prison where he is being held, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Nasta Palazhanka was among 11 supporters of Zmitser Dashkevich who received sentences of between five and 17 days in jail over the August 2 protest.

The sentences were handed down on August 3 following trials in the eastern towns of Horki and Drybin.

Palazhanka, who is also a prominent opposition youth activist, was earlier this year named one of 10 International Women of Courage, an annual award given by the U.S. State Department.

Dashkevich, the leader of the Youth Front group, was jailed for two years in March on assault charges his supporters say were politically motivated.

During the August 2 protest, some 30 of Dashkevich's supporters traveled to the Horki labor camp where he is being held and submitted a written demand that his lawyer, Maryana Syamashka, be allowed to see him immediately.

Labor camp officials have been refusing to allow Syamashka to see Dashkevich for several weeks. The activists say the prison officials may be trying to prevent the two from meeting because they do not want Dashkevich's condition to become known.

When camp officials refused that request, the activists held up a large poster saying, "Reinvestigate the case," along with a portrait of Dashkevich.

Police arrived after about 15 minutes and dispersed the protesters, detaining 14 of them.

Among those sentenced on August 3 was independent journalist Tatsyana Shaputska, whose statement in the courtroom that she was covering the protest as a journalist was not taken into account by the judge. She was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Some of the detained activists were fined. Those who demanded lawyers were released temporarily and told that their trial would take place on August 8.

Read more in Belarusian here
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