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Jailed Belarusian Activist Ends Hunger Strike

The trial of Nikalay Autukhovich, Uladzimir Asipenka, Alyaksndar Laryn, and Mikhail Kazlou in the Supreme Court in Minsk on May 6
MINSK -- Jailed businessman and opposition activist Mikalay Autukhovich has abandoned his hunger strike after Belarusian authorities discussed Autukhovich's health problems with him, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Prosecutor-General's Office spokesman Pyotr Kisyaleu told RFE/RL that the head of Belarus's Penalty Implementation Department's health care branch, Colonel Alyaksandr Kralko, met with Autukhovich on June 23.

Kisyaleu read what he said was a letter from Autukhovich stating that he met with Kralko and discussed his health problems. He also said it was decided that a special medical commission would study Autukhovich's dental problems and decide how to treat them.

Rights activist Vyachaslau Siuchyk told RFE/RL that Autukhovich has ended his hunger strike after meeting with Kralko. Autukhovich started the hunger strike on June 17, demanding dental care that he said prison officials refused to provide.

He and three co-defendants were convicted on May 6 on charges of illegal possession of weapons and ammunition. He was sentenced to five years and two months in jail.

The four were originally charged with preparing terrorist acts against officials in their native towns of Vaukavysk, Hrodna, and Minsk. Those charges were later dropped.

Autukhovich and his colleagues say the cases against them are politically motivated.