Young opposition activist Pavel Vinahradaw released from jail after completing 12-day sentence

About 40 people gathered at the gate of the detention center on Akrestsina Street in Minsk to greet the leader of Zmena...


Prominent young opposition activist Pavel Vinahradaw was released from jail on Saturday after completing a 12-day sentence for planting a white-red-white flag and an image of imprisoned former presidential candidate Mikalay Statkevich in downtown Minsk.

Pavel Vinahradaw

About 40 people gathered at the gate of the detention center on Akrestsina Street in Minsk to greet the leader of Zmena (Change), the youth wing of the "Tell the Truth!" movement. Those included Uladzimir Nyaklyayew and Andrey Dzmitryyew, leaders of the “Tell the Truth!” movement; Maryna Adamovich, the wife of Mr. Statkevich; former political prisoner Vasil Parfyankow; activists of the Conservative Christian Party, Malady Front, the United Civic Party and other opposition organizations.

Mr. Nyaklyayew, a former presidential candidate, expressed Happy Birthday wishes to Mr. Vinahradaw, who turned 25 while in jail, and asked him to promise not to get into jail in the near future.

Mr. Vinahradaw was presented with an assembled jigsaw puzzle of the Pahonya coat of arms on Belarus’ historically national white-red-white flag. He distributed pieces of the puzzle to those present and kept one for himself.

Mr. Vinahradaw was arrested near his home at about 5:30 p.m. on April 22 and was found guilty the following day of violating regulations governing demonstrations. Judge Viktoryya Shabunya, of the Tsentralny District Court in Minsk, said that by displaying the image over an entrance to the Nyamiha subway station, the young man staged an unsanctioned demonstration.

Pavel Vinahradaw

In May 2011, Mr. Vinahradaw was sentenced to four years in prison in connection with a post-election protest staged in the Belarusian capital city on December 19, 2010. He was among 11 post-election protesters pardoned by Alyaksandr Lukashenka on September 14, 2011.

On April 10, 2012, Mr. Vinahradaw was placed under "preventive" police supervision. He is prohibited from leaving Minsk without police permission and required to stay at home from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. and report to probation officers on a regular basis.

Last year Mr. Vinahradaw stood trial at least 10 times for various minor civil offenses and spent a total of 66 days in jail.

In particular, he served a 10-day and a five-day jail sentence for so-called toy protests, in which teddy bears and other soft toys were displayed holding miniature signs calling for freedoms and the release of political prisoners. //BelaPAN