Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

Supreme Court rejects Bandarenka's appeal against sentence

The Supreme Court of Belarus has turned down an appeal against a prison sentence handed down to ailing opposition politician Dzmitry Bandarenka.

As Volha Bandarenka, wife of former presidential candidate Andrey Sannikaw’s campaign aide, told BelaPAN , the appeal was filed with the Supreme Court as far back as more than two months ago.

The politician's lawyer told Mrs. Bandarenka on Tuesday that he had just received a reply from the Supreme Court, which said that the appeal had been rejected.

"According to the Supreme Court, the evidence in the case fully proves Dzmitry's guilt. Now we will probably appeal to the UN, although there is little hope," Mrs. Bandarenka said.

The court's reply was dated December 23, the day when Alyaksandr Lukashenka said at a news conference, "Speaking of Dzmitry Bandarenka, frankly, I am not familiar with the matter well: I don’t know whether he was a campaign aide or not. But Bandarenka and those whom you have mentioned are all equal before the law. You and they are all equal. I would like to draw your particular attention to the fact. Secondly, I want to tell you absolutely straightly that I will pardon or may pardon only a person who has applied to me for a pardon. If they don’t do this, let them remain imprisoned."

"Apparently they waited for Lukashenka's news conference and what he will say," Mrs. Bandarenka said, referring to the court's belated reply.

According to the woman, Mr. Bandarenka has repeatedly rejected offers to appeal to Mr. Lukashenka for a presidential pardon. He regards himself as an innocent man who has been convicted unlawfully.

On April 27, a district judge in Minsk sentenced the 48-year-old Bandarenka, to two years in a low-security prison, finding him guilty of organizing disturbances and participating in them in connection with a post-election street protest staged on December 19, 2010

The politician, an activist of an opposition group called European Belarus, underwent back surgery in July. His family and associates have expressed fears that he could be denied a proper rehabilitation course in prison.