Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Defence lawyer: No hope for early parole

Pavel Sapelka has received a letter from his defendant political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich. He refused to go into details giving as a reason that the letter concerns daily needs.

According to Pavel Sapelka, there is no hope for early parole. But Autukhovichs term of serving is unlikely to be extended: notorious Article 411 ("gross disobedience of orders of correctional institution administration") can be applied only within a year after a convicts transferring to prison. The term has already gone. The political prisoner is to get liberty in April 2014.

In the previous letter Autukhovich stressed that he needed a denture treatment: painful teeth are a bad influence on his health ruined in the result of hunger-striking. But the prison administration should give their endorsement to carrying out such a complicated medical procedure and rehabilitation. There is every likelihood that the need of taking Autukhovich out of prison will arise.

Today is the anniversary of the end of Aghan War. Its veteran Mikalai Autukhovich was awarded with the Red Star Order and two medals.

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Before going to jail Mikalai Autukhovich ran his own prosperous business in Vaukavysk. But combating corruption in Hrodna region he happened to be in the local authorities path

In May, 2010 the Supreme Court of Belarus sentenced the former businessman to five years and two months of imprisonment in a medium security penal colony under the Criminal Code's Article 295, which penalizes the illegal handling of arms, ammunition and explosives, because of five hunting (!) rifle cartridges found in his safe. Human rights defenders note that the sentence might well have been awarded in retaliation for Mikalai Autukhovichs fighting against public corruption in the region.

Unfortunately, it is not the first time the activist has been deprived of liberty. In 2006 he was put into prison for 3.5 years, with his property being seized. Autukhovich was recognised prisoner of conscience. After Europe and the United States introduced harsh sanctions on Belarus the political prisoners were released.

Mikalai Autukhovich repeatedly went on hunger strikes in protest. The one which lasted three months nearly cost him his life.