Opposition activist leaves jail after completing 25-day term, anticipates further persecution

Having served his 25-day jail term, Pavel Vinahradau, a leader of Zmena, the youth wing of the Tell the Truth movement, was released from a detention centre in Minsk on Monday.

While talking to reporters near the jail, the activist stressed that authorities were ‘displeased’ with his behavior and would probably place him under ‘preventive police supervision’ for another two years. The current two-year supervision period for Mr Vinahradau expires on April 25.

Pavel Vinahradau predicted that opposition activists would face persecution ahead of May’s Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk and during the tournament. Mr Vinahradau said that he would try to wait out the period in another city.

On March 14, 2014, Mr Vinahradau and his associate Aliaksandr Artsybashau were sentenced on Friday to 25 and 15 days in jail, respectively. Mr Vinahradau was arrested after he reported to a police station on March 13 as required by the terms of preventive police supervision. Mr Artsybashau was arrested after he arrived at the police station to pick up his friend and take him home.

Tatsiana Matyl, a judge of Maskouski District Court, found Mr Artsybashau guilty of disobedience to police officers. She found Mr Vinahradau guilty of disobedience to police officers and disorderly conduct.

Mr Vinahradau, who is usually locked up ahead of key street protests and other major political events, said that the authorities had trumped up the charges to keep him and Mr Artsybashau in jail during the March 18-23 local elections and the opposition`s Freedom Day demonstration on March 25.

In May 2011, Mr Vinahradau was sentenced to four years of imprisonment for participating in the post-election protests in Minsk on December 19, 2010. He was pardoned by Aliaksandr Lukashenka on September 14, 2011 although Mr Vinahradau had never filed a petition to the President.

www.belsat.eu/en, following BelaPAN

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