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Jailed Belarusian Presidential Candidate Meets With Wife

Jailed former presidential candidate Andrey Sannikau with his son Danik, whom he hasn't seen in five months.
MINSK -- Belarusian journalist Iryna Khalip has been allowed to meet with her jailed husband, former presidential candidate Andrey Sannikau, in his detention center in Minsk, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Sannikau, a former deputy foreign minister and co-founder of the Charter 97 human rights group, was sentenced on May 14 to five years in a maximum-security prison on charges of organizing mass protests following last year's disputed presidential election.

Khalip received a two-year suspended prison sentence on May 16 for her involvement in those protests.

Khalip had tried to meet with her jailed husband this week. Despite receiving official permission to meet her husband, Khalip had not been allowed to see him since May 18.

Khalip told RFE/RL on May 20 that she had seen her husband for one hour. She said Sannikau is doing very well and nobody "would ever break him."

Khalip added that her husband passed his personal gratitude and greetings to all of his colleagues and supporters.

"He kept asking about our son, Danka, whom he has not seen for five months and who recently turned four," she said.

Sannikau was arrested after some 15,000 antigovernment demonstrations on December 19 protesting the results of the controversial presidential election that reelected Alyaksandr Lukashenka to another term.

International election monitors said the vote was flawed.

Hundreds of protesters were arrested at the demonstration and in the following days, including almost all of the opposition presidential candidates. Many were also injured after being beaten.

Read more in Belarusian and see a video here