Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Child welfare officers to assess living conditions of small son of Sannikaw and Khalip

Child welfare officers will visit the home of former presidential candidate Andrey Sannikaw and his journalist wife Iryna Khalip on January 18 to examine their three-year-old son's living conditions.

Daniil Sannikaw has been cared for by his grandparents since Mr. Sannikaw and Ms. Khalip were arrested after the brutal dispersal of the opposition's post-election street protest in Minsk on December 19.

As the boy's grandmother, Lyutsyna Khalip, told BelaPAN, she has been declared physically fit to get custody of the child and plans to submit all appropriate documents to child welfare officers on Tuesday.

The administration of Minsk's Partyzanski district is expected to make a decision in late January whether to grant the 74-year-old mother of Ms. Khalip custody of the boy.

Daniil was put on the authorities' list of children in need of care following the arrest of his parents.

Social workers visited the boy’s kindergarten on December 24, sparking fears that he could be placed in institutional care. Lyutsyna Khalip rushed there after receiving a phone call from the institution and drew up an application for custody of the boy on the spot.

Mr. Sannikaw and Ms. Khalip, who have been held in the KGB jail in Minsk, have been charged with organizing and participating in mass riots over the protest. If convicted, they could face up to 15 years in prison.