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Belarusian Youth Activist Jailed For Support Of Imprisoned Politician

Friends and relatives meet activist and former political prisoner Paval Vinahradau (left) after his release from prison in March.
MINSK -- A court in Minsk has sentenced a youth activist to 12 days in jail for publicly supporting an imprisoned former presidential candidate.

The court found Paval Vinahradau guilty on April 23 of holding an illegal protest.

Vinahradau was detained earlier in the day after he unfolded a poster with a picture of Mikalay Statkevich and the banned Belarusian national flag near a Minsk subway station.

Statkevich is serving his six-year prison term for "organizing mass disturbances" following authoritarian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's reelection in December 2010.

Statkevich was sentenced almost two years ago.

Vinahradau pleaded not guilty but did not deny at his trial that he unfolded the poster and the flag.

Vinahradau's wife told RFE/RL on April 23 that her husband carried out his protest because he had heard that Statkevich was "under pressure" in prison.
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