Zmitser Dashkevich out of prison!

The youth leader was released at 6:15 am. Being pale-faced and greatly reduced he still seems to be in high spirits. His relatives, friends and associates have waited for him overnight near Hrodna prison.

After sorting out some domestic problems Zmitser is going to be active in politics again. Having an intention to be engaged in the same activity he also would like to transfer Young Front into hands of younger activists.

Zmitser Dashkevich has spent 986 days in jail, mainly in one-man cells. He does not see his release as mercy: “Uladzimir Yaromenak’s example proves that today you may be freed but tomorrow they could put you in prison again”.

Zmitser considers the conditions of confinement in a cell as “decent enough”. “For a prisoner it is very important to know that there are people who support you and keep your pot boiling,” Dashkevich stressed saying that he did receive a lot of letters. In the coming 6 months the former political prisoner will be under preventive police supervision: he is forbidden to stay out of his home from 8 pm to 6 am.

Nastassia Dashkevich was very happy to see her husband at liberty, she said. On August 29 the leader of Young Front is to give a press conference in Minsk office of the Belarusian People’s Front (BPF).

Wedding behind bars

In the near future Zmitser and Nasta Dashkevich are planning to get married in church. The registration of marriage actually took place on December 26, 2012 and lasted only ten minutes… Before it a lot of formal obstacles had been put up. For example, Dashkevich’s passport was not given back to him and he had to file a complaint to the Prosecutor General. In accordance with the official response, they failed to find the document.

Youth leader neutralization

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 might have expressed strong dissent and insisted on their not knowing the alleged victims 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.

In September, 2011 the activist was offered to file a petition for pardon addressed to Aliaksandr Lukashenka but he rejected this proposal.

He started serving his term in Horki penal colony (Mahiliou region) but later he was moved to Hlybokaye (Vitsebsk region). Dashkevich was to go at liberty in December, 2012 but on August 28 Hlybokaye district court in camera acknowledged Dashkevich guilty of “gross disobedience to orders of correctional institution administration”. Four months which Dashkevich was to serve under the first sentence were included in the new one.



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