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'Conditional Release' Demanded For Jailed Belarusian Activist

Jailed Belarusian activist Zmitser Dashkevich
MINSK -- Lawyers representing jailed Belarusian youth activist Zmitser Dashkevich have urged the Interior Ministry to approve his "conditional release," RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Dashkevich, head of the political organization Youth Front, and Youth Front activist Eduard Lobau were sentenced on March 24 to two and four years in jail, respectively, after being found guilty of assaulting two people in Minsk on December 18, one day before the disputed presidential election.

Dashkevich's fiancee, Youth Front activist Nasta Palazhanka, told RFE/RL that his lawyers decided to submit on September 12 an official request for Dashkevich's release because he has served one third of his jail-term.

A conditional release means transfer to a special dormitory where persons convicted of minor crimes and/or those who behaved exemplarily in labor camps live and work at local businesses without strict control.

On September 13, the parole commission at the labor camp in the eastern town of Horki is scheduled to discuss Dashkevich's possible early release.

Palazhanka said the labor camp administration is against granting Dashkevich a conditional release. She said Dashkevich has been placed in solitary confinement several times for violating labor camp regulations.

Dashkevich insists he is not guilty of the crime and has staged numerous protests while in jail.

Amnesty International has officially recognized Dashkevich and Lobau as prisoners of conscience.

Read more in Belarusian here