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Freed Belarusian Activist Says Other Political Prisoners Must Be Released

Belarusian opposition activist Ales Byalyatski
Belarusian opposition activist Ales Byalyatski
Outspoken Belarusian human rights activist Ales Byalyatski, who was unexpectedly released on June 21, says other political prisoners in his country must be freed.

Byalyatski told journalists in Minsk on June 23 that he does not plan to leave Belarus, adding that Belarus remains "an unfree country."

Byalyatski said he will continue his human rights activities.

Byalyatski, the head of the Belarusian human rights center Vyasna, was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison in November 2011.

He was convicted of tax evasion.

Byalyatski pleaded not guilty and his supporters said the charges against him were politically motivated.

The chairman of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Ad Hoc Working Group on Belarus, Christian Holm, has called Byalyatski's early release "hopefully a sign of more to come."
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