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Belarus opposition asks Lukashenko to free rights campaigner Belyatsky

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Aug. 3, 2012, 4:17 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine

Belarusian jailed rights campaigner Ales Belyatsky
© AP

MINSK - Belarusian opposition activists have handed over a letter in support of jailed rights campaigner Ales Belyatsky to President Alexander Lukashenko.

"A letter in Belyatsky support has been submitted to the presidential administration today," sources in the unregistered rights center Vyasna, led by Belyatsky, told Interfax on Friday.

"We think the rights campaigner's conviction was unlawful and was connected with his work. His arrest was the result of the authorities' long-lasting policy with regards to rights campaigners and public organizations," the letter says.

The authors also urged the authorities to stop putting pressure and persecuting members of the civil society and rights community, and to bring the national legislation into line with international human rights standards.

The letter was signed by the chief of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Oleg Gulak, leaders of the Movement for Freedom, ex-presidential candidate Alexander Milinkevich and deputy head of the Belarusian Journalists Association Andrei Bastunets.

Belyatsky was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison in the autumn of 2011 after he was found guilty of large-scale concealment of income.

August 3 marks a year since he was detained.

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