Belarus: Andrei Sannikov released
Andrei Sannikov, Iryna Khalip and their son Danik
Belarusian opposition leader and former Presidential candidate, Andrei Sannikov has been released after being imprisoned for nearly a year and a half.
Charter 97 says that Mr Sannikov phoned them, told them that he had been released on the basis of a decree pardoning him from 14 April. He said that he was still stunned and needed to come to, but thanked them for their support and solidarity. “I’ve never experienced such support and solidarity ever in my life. Thank you all so much! If it hadn’t been for you, I wouldn’t be free today. Everything was done so that I wouldn’t leave prison.”
Andrei Sannikov was arrested after some 15, 000 people took part in antigovernment demonstrations on December 19, 2010 to protest the announcement of Lukashenka’s “reelection” in very seriously flawed elections. He was found guilty of organizing mass riots and sentenced on May 14 to five years in prison.
Hundreds of protesters were arrested at the demonstration and in the succeeding days, including almost all opposition presidential candidates.