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Jailed Belarusian Presidential Candidate Under Pressure To Ask For Clemency

Jailed Belarusian politician Mikalay Statkevich

Jailed Belarusian politician Mikalay Statkevich

MINSK -- Jailed former Belarusian presidential candidate Mikalay Statkevich is being pressured to write to President Alyaksandr Lukashenka asking for clemency, his daughter has told RFE/RL's Belarus Service.

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

Statkevich's daughter, Katsyaryna, told RFE/RL on October 31 that he telephoned her to tell her labor camp officials have been pressuring him to write the letter for some time.

"He told me the last attempt to force him to write a letter asking for clemency was made on October 28," she said. "When he refused to write such a letter, the administration banned his meetings with his relatives and friends for six months."

Katsyaryna said her father told her that for him, writing such a letter to the president would mean the betrayal of those people who came out to the street on December 19.

Read more in Belarusian here