Political Prisoner Aliaksandr Zdvizhkou to Be Released Today

2008 2008-02-22T17:26:49+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On 22 February the Supreme Court of Belarus considered the cassation appeal of the former deputy editor of Zgoda newspaper Aliaksandr Zdzvizhkou. Earlier Zdvizhkou was sentenced to three years of imprisonment for publishing the Prophet Mohammed cartoons.

Considering the exceptional circumstances (the journalist has an elderly mother), the Supreme Court altered the decision of Minsk city court, and commuted the sentence from three years to three months of jail. As said by lawyer Maya Aliaksandrava, today Zdzvizhkou is to be released.

The prisoner wasn’t present at the trial, the journalists weren’t admitted to it either.

Background

On 18 January 2008 Minsk city court sentenced the former editor-in-chief of the Zgoda newspaper, Aliaksandr Zdzvizhkou, to 3 years of jail. Zdzvizhkou was found guilty of inciting religious enmity. The trial was held behind the closed doors, and only the final part of the verdict was read out for the press.

In the newspaper edition of 18-26 February 2006 an article ‘Political Creative Idea’ was published in the Zgoda. It included reprinted Mohammed cartoons. In February 2006 KGB opened a case for publication of cartoons on Muhammad after an enquiry was made by the prosecutor’s office and the KGB.

The enquiry has been made basing on an address of Muslim communities of Belarus and of the Committee on Religious and Ethnic Affairs.

In the middle of March 2006 Zgoda newspaper was liquidated by a decision of the Supreme Court of Belarus.



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