Paval Sevyarynets receives New Year`s greetings from Freedom House head


Pavel Sevyarynets, co-chairman of Belarusian Christian Democracy, who is serving a three-year "restricted freedom" and corrective labor sentence, has received New Year`s greetings from David Kramer, executive director of Washington-based Freedom House.

In the letter, Mr. Kramer expresses gratitude to Mr. Sevyarynets for his commitment to the cause of democracy and human rights and wishes that the year 2013 bring freedom to him and his country, according to the BCD press office.

The letter contains words of support for all those who are fighting for change in Belarus, the press office said.

Mr. Sevyarynets is confident that the other political prisoners in Belarus have received similar letters from Mr. Kramer, the press office said.

On May 16, 2011, Paval Sevyarynets, who was candidate Vital Rymashewski`s campaign manager during the previous year`s presidential race, was convicted in connection with a post-election protest staged in Minsk on December 19, 2010. A district judge found him guilty of instigating disturbances and participating in them.

Mr. Sevyarynets currently lives in the dormitory-style correctional facility in the village of Kuplin, Pruzhany district, and works on a local farm. He turned 36 on December 30.

In May 2005, Mr. Sevyarynets, along with another opposition politician, Mikalay Statkevich, was sentenced to three years of restricted freedom for staging a series of unauthorized protests in central Minsk in the fall of 2004 against the official results of parliamentary elections and a national referendum marred by allegations of massive fraud. The sentence was later reduced by one year under an amnesty.

He also spent two months in detention following an opposition demonstration in April 1998 on a charge of "malicious hooliganism." In November 1998, the authorities dropped the criminal case against him under pressure from the international community. // BelaPAN