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Oksana Sevastidi (file photo)

A Russian woman convicted of high treason for a text message she sent a friend in Georgia during the 2008 war has been released from prison, her lawyer says.

Oksana Sevastidi "has just been released from prison. We will decide now where to head next," defense lawyer Yevgeny Smirnov said on March 12.

The news comes after a decree from President Vladimir Putin pardoning Sevastidi was posted on the Russian government's official legal website on March 7.

Sevastidi's lawyers welcomed Putin's clemency decree and vowed to work on her full exoneration and the revocation of her verdict.

Sevastidi, 46, was sentenced to seven years in prison in March 2016 for texting in 2008 about a Russian train full of military equipment heading toward the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia during the short war between Russia and Georgia.

Human rights activists have said the case was politically motivated.

Sevastidi's amnesty came a day after the release of Yevgenia Chudnovets, a Russia kindergarten teacher jailed for reposting an online child-abuse video in order to raise awareness of the case with the public and with Russian authorities.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS
People take part in a protest rally in Maladzyechna on March 10.

MINSK -- More than 10 people were detained after several hundred people rallied in a northwestern Belarusian city, demanding cancellation of a controversial tax on jobless people.

Police did not intervene as up to 1,000 demonstrators marched in the March 10 rally in Maladzyechna, where protesters chanted "Long Live Belarus!" and "Power to People!"

But following the event, men presumed to be security officers used force to detain several activists, including opposition politicians Anatol Lyabedzka, Yuras Hubarevich, Volha Kavalkova, and Vital Rymasheuski.

Also detained was journalist Syarhey Karalevich of the independent Belarusian news agency BelaPAN.

The protests were the latest in series to rattle the authoritarian government of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has said the law was necessary to combat what he has called "social parasitism."

WATCH: Three Belarusian Activists Live-Stream Their Own Detentions (in Russian)

Belarusian Activists Live-Stream Their Own Detentions
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The Viasna human rights organization said in a statement that at least two other opposition politicians were detained as well, and there were reports that several other local activists were also taken into custody.

It was not immediately clear what charges the detainees were facing.

Opposition parliamentarian Hanna Kanapatskaya later traveled to the Maladzyechna police station to demand their release.

Kanapatskaya said in an interview at the station that she had been unable to obtain any information about the detentions from police.

She said she had filed a complaint with police over what she called the criminal "abduction" of Lyabedzka, Rymasheuski, and Kavalkova by "unidentified persons" based on videos posted on social media.

The rally took place a day after Lukashenka suspended implementation of the tax for one year, saying it will be "corrected" and carried out in 2018.

The law, which has sparked protests across the nation of 10 million, imposes a special tax on Belarusians who work less than half of a calendar year and do not register at the country's labor bureaus.

The law exempts registered job-seekers, homemakers, subsistence farmers, and Belarusians working in Russia.

Activists told RFE/RL that similar rallies are scheduled for March 11 and March 12 in four cities: Pinsk, Babruysk, Vorsha, and Rahachou.

Activists in Minsk told RFE/RL that city authorities allowed them to stage a demonstration as well.

At the same time that he announced a suspension on the tax, Lukashenka also instructed his interior minister to ensure that “perfect order” is established in the country, BelaPAN reported.

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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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