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Jailed Belarusian Presidential Candidate Allowed To See Wife For First Time


Former Belarusian presidential candidate Mikola Statkevich

Former Belarusian presidential candidate Mikola Statkevich

MINSK -- The wife of jailed Belarusian presidential candidate Mikola Statkevich has been allowed to visit him in prison for the first time, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Statkevich's wife, Maryna Adamovich, officially showed proof of her marriage to Statkevich to prison officials on December 20 and was allowed to see him.

Belarusian law bans nonrelatives from visiting inmates and Statkevich and his long-time partner Adamovich were only able to officially register their marriage on December 20 after months of bureaucratic procedures.

Officials at Labor Camp No. 17 in the eastern town of Shklou allowed the "newly married couple" to stay together for only one day and night, even though Belarusian law allows inmates to stay with their spouses for three days and three nights in similar situations.

Adamovich told RFE/RL that Statkevich looked "very well" and passed greetings to his colleagues and supporters. He said he is not able to answer all of the letters he receives.

Statkevich was jailed for six years in May for "organizing mass disturbances" on December 19, 2010, when some 15,000 people took to the streets of Minsk to protest alleged vote fraud in the controversial presidential election that gave another term to President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Statkevich is currently being kept in a so-called "closed-regime location" for "violation of the penitentiary's internal order."

Adamovich said Statkevich told her he might face an additional trial and could be transferred from the labor camp in Shklou to a much stricter penitentiary where he would be kept in his cell around the clock.

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