Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Lyabedzka released from jail after serving out 15-day sentence

Syarhey Karalevich, Naviny.by

Anatol Lyabedzka, leader of the United Civic Party (UCP), was released from a detention center on Monday after serving out a 15-day jail term.

As the opposition politician walked out of the detention center on Akrestsina Street in Minsk, he was greeted by a crowd of some 20 people, including friends, fellow UCP members and journalists.

Mr. Lyabedzka said that his jailing was the authorities' reaction to the party's activities during the local election campaign.

"The persecution of the party's activists is evidence that we did everything right. Our tactics during the election campaign exposed the absurd and schizophrenic nature of the current government," he said.

Mr. Lyabedzka warned that the 2015 presidential election would be held in an even more repressive environment for the opposition, and stressed that pro-democratic forces needed to push their own scenario on the authorities.

In a trial of March 17, Judge Maryna Fyodarava of the Savetski District Court sentenced Mr. Lyabedzka to five days in jail for disorderly conduct and to 10 days in jail for acting in violation of regulations governing “mass events.”

Mr. Lyabedzka was among nine opposition activists arrested by police 15 minutes into a March 16 campaigning rally in front of Kamarowski Rynak, a marketplace at the center of Minsk, after they displayed images of political prisoners and Alyaksandr Lukashenka's prominent opponents who disappeared under suspicious circumstances in 1999 and 2000.