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Belarusian Opposition Activist Has Guilty Verdict Overturned

Yauhen Yakavenka
Yauhen Yakavenka
A court in the southeastern Belarusian region of Homel has annulled the sentence given to a Belarusian opposition activist for avoiding military service.

Yauhen Yakavenka, a member of the Belarusian Christian Democratic Party, was sentenced in June to one year of "restricted freedom" after being found guilty of refusing to report for military service.

Yakavenka had refused to respond to the Homel Military Commission's official enlistment notice because it was written in Russian. He demanded that the notice be written in Belarusian, arguing that the Belarusian Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to choose between Russian and Belarusian, the country's two official languages.

Judge Lyudmila Hrynko said in court on July 23 that she annulled the verdict and sentence against Yakavenka in accordance with an amnesty enacted by parliament to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.

-- Belarus Service

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