PEN International welcomes the release of Dimitry Bondarenko (also referred to as Dzmitry Bandarenka) on April 15, 2012. He was released jointly with Andrei Sannikov, who ran against President Alexander Lukashenko in the 2010 presidential election.

Background Information

Bondarenko, a PEN main case and a journalist with Charter 97, was sentenced on April 27, 2011, to two years in prison under Article 342 of the Criminal Code of Belarus for “preparation of activities that disrupt the public order” and ordered to pay a fine for damages to public transport. He was arrested on December 19, 2010, during the mass arrests which followed protests against the flawed presidential elections, and originally charged with “organization of riots.” He was also accused of using the Internet to call for participation in the protest and “expressing false statements about undemocratic elections.” Bondarenko admitted his participation in the mass demonstrations, but pleaded not guilty to the other charges. A week ago we expressed our concerns over his deteriorating health and inadequate medical attention he received in prison.

Read the BBC article on Sannikov’s and Bondarenko’s release.

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