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Former opposition presidential candidate Andrey Sannikau sits in a cage during a court hearing in Minsk in April.
MINSK -- The whereabouts of a jailed former Belarusian presidential candidate remains unclear, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Andrey Sannikau was transferred without warning from a labor camp in the eastern city of Babruysk earlier this month.

Sannikau's wife, journalist Iryna Khalip, told RFE/RL on November 23 that he was transferred from Babruysk labor camp to a detention center in the eastern city of Mahileu last week.

She said a member of the Mahileu Association of Lawyers tried to visit Sannikau in the detention center on November 23, but was told that Sannikau was transferred to a detention center in the eastern city of Vitsebsk.

"We now are trying to find out if that information is true," Khalip told RFE/RL.

Punitive Transfer?

Sannikau was jailed for five years in May for his part in the street protests that broke out following the December presidential election that returned incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka to power.

In September, Sannikau's relatives were left uninformed about his whereabouts for two weeks. He was originally sent to a maximum-security labor camp in the northern city of Navapolatsak.

On September 21, Khalip was informed by Navapolatsak labor camp officials that he was in transit to a penitentiary in Babruysk and should arrive there by September 24.

However, Khalip was not able to find him at the labor camp in Babruysk on September 24.

It took almost two weeks before Sannikau reached the penitentiary after many days spent in special trains for transportation of convicts and in detention centers in various locations.

Sannikau's lawyers and relatives said the authorities never offered any explanation for his transfer to another labor camp hundreds of kilometers away.

Read more in Belarusian here
Kazakh police detained opposition activist Zhanna Baitelova in Almaty in August for picketing the offices of the ruling Nur-Otan party.
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh activist has filed a lawsuit against a court in Almaty, claiming she was wrongfully imprisoned earlier this year, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Zhanna Baitelova of the opposition Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan was jailed for two weeks for staging a protest to demand the release from jail of a labor lawyer who represented striking oil workers in Kazakhstan's western Manghystau Province.

Baitelova told RFE/RL on November 23 that she filed the lawsuit against the Almaty city administrative court the previous day.

She said the verdict against her in August was based on an article in the Criminal Code that applies solely to people with a previous criminal record.

Baitelova was one of three activists detained in Almaty on August 17 for picketing the offices of the ruling Nur-Otan party in support of lawyer Natalya Sokolova, who was jailed for six years in August for "igniting social hatred."

The other two activists -- Arman Ozhaubaev and Dmitry Tikhonov -- were sentenced to five days' administrative detention.

Thousands of oil workers in Manghystau have been on strike since May to demand a pay raise; the lifting of restrictions on the activities of independent labor unions in the region; and equal rights with foreign workers.

Read more in Kazakh here

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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