Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Fiancee petitions prosecutor general to probe reported mistreatment of Dashkevich

Anastasiya Palazhanka, fiancee of Zmitser Dashkevich, has petitioned Prosecutor General Alyaksandr Kanyuk to investigate the reported mistreatment of the imprisoned opposition politician by the administration of Correctional Institution No. 20 in Mazyr, Homyel region.

Mr. Dashkevich, 31, went on hunger strike last month in protest against what he described as abuse and threats on the part of prison officers.

Ms. Palazhanka was told by Yury Zbarowski, chief of the prison administration, last week that Mr. Dashkevich wanted to cut his veins and was on hunger strike for no apparent reason and made false accusations against prison officers.

Another top prison officer warned Ms. Palazhanka that if she made public the opposition activist's claims, it "will have an impact on him."

According to Ms. Palazhanka, the officer made the threat in the presence of Mr. Dashkevich's lawyer.

Mr. Dashkevich is expected to send his own complaint to the prosecutor general soon, the woman said.

The leader of an opposition youth group called Malady Front 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.

On March 24, 2011, the activist was sentenced to two years in a minimum-security correctional institution on a charge of "especially malicious hooliganism."

In September 2011, he refused an offer of freedom in exchange for asking Alyaksandr Lukashenka for a presidential pardon.

In a closed-door trial held last month in a prison in the Vitsyebsk region, Mr. Dashkevich was found guilty of persistent violation of prison rules under Part One of the Criminal Code’s Article 411 and sentenced to a one-year prison term. The remaining four months of the previously imposed prison term were included in the new term.