Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

New criminal case opened against Dashkevich

Imprisoned opposition activist Zmitser Dashkevich has been charged with persistently disobeying the prison administration`s orders, an offense for which he may have his prison sentence extended by one year, TV channel Belarus One reported on Wednesday, BelaPAN said.

The criminal case against the 30-year-old Dashkevich was opened by the Hlybokaye district office of the Investigative Committee in pursuance of a report sent by the administration of Correctional Institution No. 13 in Hlybokaye, Vitsyebsk region.

Investigators have carried out a "thorough" probe to establish whether Mr. Dashkevich’s repeat refusal to obey the administration was justified or not, an Investigative Committee representative said in televised comments. "What status the inmate had had on the outside did not matter" to the investigators, said the officer.

Mr. Dashkevich’s relatives and friends hope to learn more details about the new case after his lawyer meets with him on July 20.

On March 24, 2011, a judge of the Maskowski District Court in Minsk sentenced Zmitser Dashkevich, leader of an unregistered opposition youth organization Malady Front, to two years in a minimum-security correctional institution, finding him guilty of "especially malicious hooliganism."

He was arrested in Minsk on December 18, 2010, on the eve of a scheduled large-scale post-election demonstration, for allegedly beating up two passers-by.

Speaking during his trial, Mr. Dashkevich said that the incident was a provocation orchestrated by authorities and accused the two alleged victims of giving false testimony. In September 2011, he refused an offer of freedom in exchange for asking Alyaksandr Lukashenka for a presidential pardon.

In February 2012, Mr. Dashkevich was placed in disciplinary confinement twice. He had previously been subjected to such punishment at least 10 times.