Belarusian Presidential candidate gets three years In ’closed regime’
Mikalay Statkevich sits in the defendant’s cage before the start of his trial in Minsk in May.
SHKLOU, Belarus -- Jailed former Belarusian presidential candidate Mikola Statkevich has been given a three-year prison term in a "closed regime, " RFE/RL’s Belarus Service reports.
A mobile court that held session in labor camp No. 17 in the eastern town of Shklou, where Statkevich has been serving his six-year prison term, ruled that he has to be transferred to the "closed regime" penitentiary due to his "constant violation of the labor camp’s internal regulations."
The trial was held within the labor camp and neither Statkevich’s wife, Maryna Adamovich, nor journalists were allowed inside to view the proceedings.
When told of the court’s decision, Adamovich said she was not surprised and was prepared for such news.
"Justice has long ago died in Belarus, " she said.
Statkevich, 55, was jailed for six years in May for "organizing mass disturbances" on December 19, 2010, when some 15, 000 people took to the streets of Minsk to protest alleged vote fraud in the controversial presidential election that gave another term to President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
Statkevich and several other presidential candidates were arrested at the time.
Statkevich has been temporarily placed in so-called "closed-regime premises" (PKT) inside the Shklou labor camp several times for "violations of the internal order."
Three years in a "closed regime" means being in a much stricter part of the penitentiary where Statkevich will be kept in his cell around the clock.
Statkevich had previously been sentenced to three years in a labor camp in 2005 for organizing protests against a referendum that lifted the constitutional limit on presidential terms, allowing Lukashenka to run again. He was released by an amnesty two years later.