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Jailed Belarusian Activist's Supporters Detained

Nasta Palazhanka, the fiancee of Zmitser Dashkevich
Nasta Palazhanka, the fiancee of Zmitser Dashkevich
HORKI, Belarus -- About 20 supporters of jailed Belarusian activist Zmitser Dashkevich have been detained for holding a protest near the prison in eastern Belarus where he is jailed, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Some 30 activists, among them Dashkevich's fiancee, Nasta Palazhanka, arrived at the Horki labor camp on August 2 and demanded that prison officials allow Dashkevich's lawyer, Maryana Syamashka, to see him.

Labor camp officials have for several weeks refused to allow Syamashka to see Dashkevich. The activists say the prison officials might be trying to prevent the two from meeting because they are hiding something about Dashkevich.

His supporters handed their letter to the administration of the labor camp and urged officials to immediately allow Dashkevich to see his lawyer.

When officials refused that request, the activists held up a large poster that said "Reinvestigate The Case" along with a portrait of Dashkevich.

Police arrived after some 15 minutes and dispersed the protesters while detaining about 20 of them.

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 country's disputed presidential election.

Dashkevich and Lobau pleaded not guilty. They say the cases against them are politically motivated.

Read more in Belarusian here