Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Lawyer denied access to Sannikaw

Andrey Sannikaw's lawyer was not allowed to meet with the imprisoned former presidential candidate on December 8.

The lawyer planned to visit the politician in the Vitsba-3 correctional institution near Vitsyebsk but was turned away by the prison administration, Mr. Sannikaw's wife, Iryna Khalip, told BelaPAN.

The lawyer was expected to complain to the Vitsyebsk Regional Prosecutor's Office and the regional office of the interior ministry's Corrections Department about the denial of access to Mr. Sannikaw.

The lawyer has been unable to visit Mr. Sannikaw since his transfer to the prison in mid-November.

Last week Ms. Khalip complained to the Prosecutor General's Office about the actions of the Corrections Department's officers, who have denied her husband access to the lawyer. "I demanded that criminal proceedings be instituted. A criminal case will be opened anyway, if not now then later. And all these complaints and records will be evidence in the case," she said.

On May 14, a district judge in Minsk sentenced the 57-year-old Sannikaw to five years in prison, finding him guilty of "organizing mass disorder" in connection with a post-election protest staged in the Belarusian capital city on the night of December 19, 2010.

Mr. Sannikaw, a former deputy foreign minister, was severely beaten during riot police's violent crackdown on the crowd in front of the House of Government and was arrested shortly afterward.

On July 15, a three-judge panel of the Minsk City Court upheld his prison sentence.

On September 20, Mr. Sannikaw was transferred from a prison in Navapolatsk to Correctional Institution No. 2 in Babruysk. He was removed from the prison in mid-November, held for a few days in Correctional Institution No. 4 in Mahilyow and then brought to the Vitsba 3 prison.

According to the central election commission, Mr. Sannikaw was the runner-up in the December 14-19 election with 2.43 percent of the vote.