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Belarusian Activist Sentenced For Avoiding Military Service

Christian Democracy activist Yauhen Yakavenka
Christian Democracy activist Yauhen Yakavenka
HOMEL, Belarus -- An opposition activist in Belarus has been sentenced to one year of "restricted freedom" for avoiding military service, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Yauhen Yakavenka of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party called the verdict against him illegal.

He explained that the verdict says that he was officially told to report to a military commission, but failed to do so.

Yakavenka said he asked for all the documents he received from the military commission to be translated into the Belarusian language, which was not done.

Yakavenka's lawyer Yauhen Hrabouski said an oral request to report to a military commission cannot be considered an official request.

Hrabouski said official documents should be presented to citizens of Belarus in whichever official language they prefer. Both Belarusian and Russian are official languages in Belarus.

Under a "restricted freedom" sentence, an individual typically needs permission to leave his place of residence and to be at home when not at work. He or she is often required to report to police on a regular basis.