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Jailed Belarusian Activist's Whereabouts 'Unknown'

Yauhen Vaskovich
Yauhen Vaskovich
MAHILEU, Belarus -- A Belarusian activist jailed for an arson attack on a KGB office has been transferred from a labor camp in the eastern city of Mahileu, but his family does not know where he is, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Yauhen Vaskovich, a member of the unregistered opposition Belarusian Christian Democracy party, is serving a seven-year prison term for the attack on the local KGB headquarters in the eastern town of Babruysk in October 2010.

Officials of labor camp No. 15 in Mahileu told RFE/RL that Vaskovich has been transferred from there to "another labor camp," but did not say where. A labor camp duty officer said Vaskovich's relatives will be informed where he is three days after his arrival at the penitentiary to which he is being transferred.

Vaskovich's mother, Rushannya, told RFE/RL she has not been informed about his transfer. She said Vaskovich wrote in his last letter to her that he was to be moved to a so-called closed correctional facility (PTK), where inmates are generally sent for systematically refusing to comply with instructions from prison guards.

Vaskovich has been placed in solitary confinement in the Mahileu labor camp on numerous occasions for refusing to follow guards' orders.

Two anarchist activists, Artsyom Prakapenka and Pavel Syramalotau, were also jailed for seven years over the arson attack.

Vaskovich admitted that he took part in the attack but pleaded not guilty. His two associates pleaded guilty.

The Belarusian Christian Democracy party considers Vaskovich a political prisoner but acknowledges that his involvement in the attack was wrong. Party members say the one year he has already served in prison is enough, and he should now be released.

Read more in Belarusian here