In the run-up to hockey championship: ex-political prisoner to spend 25 days behind bars

Zmitser Dashkevich, a co-chair of youth opposition organisation Young Front, has been sentenced Thursday to 25 days in custody. Yury Horbatovsky, a judge of Pershamayski district court in Minsk found him guilty of violation of preventive police supervision regulations and resisting police officers.

On April, 24 Zmitser Dashkevich was detained by police not far from the block of flats he lives in. The activist managed to phone his wife. “He told me his things were being searched and that he would probably be taken to custody,” Nasta Dashkevich wrote on Facebook.

It is highly likely that the authorities are hunting for opposition activists aiming to ‘neutralize’ them for the period of the Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk (9 – 25 May). It is to be recalled that jail sentences were imposed on opposition activists Ilya Dabratvor and Maksim Viniarski shortly before a scheduled demonstration to mark the 28th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.


Zmitser Dashkevich and another activist of Young Front, Eduard Lobau, were detained on December 18, 2010; they were accused of beating two local residents. Dashkevich and Lobau expressed strong dissent and insisted on their not knowing the alleged victims but the both were adjudged guilty of especially malignant hooliganism (Article 339, part 3 of the Criminal Code). On March 24, 2011 Zmitser Dashkevich was sentenced to two years of imprisonment in a minimum security penal colony, Eduard Lobau – to four years of a medium security penal colony.

Opposition activists and human rights defenders considered the detention as part of police preventive action performed before the 2010 presidential election. International human rights organisations recognised them political prisoners.

On August 28, 2013 Zmitser Dashkevich was released from prison. But the former political prisoner is still under preventive police supervision: he is forbidden to stay out of his home from 8 pm to 6 am. Furthermore, Mr Dashkevich is obliged to appear at Pershamayski district Directorate of Interior in Minsk thrice a week.

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