Paval Sevyarynets granted three-day leave

Paval Sevyarynets, co-chairman of Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD), has been granted a three-day leave by the administration of an open-type correctional institution in the Brest region.

The 36-year-old opposition politician, who is widely viewed as a political prisoner, will visit his parents in Vitsyebsk. Given the time needed to travel home and back to the facility in the village of Kuplin in the Pruzhany district, he will spend only some 36 hours at home, according to the BCD press office.

This will be his first visit home in six months.

Mr. Sevyarynets serves a three-year "restricted freedom" and corrective labor sentence.

On May 16, 2011, Mr. 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.

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