Updated at 17:19,07-01-2021

Twenty-four opposition activists said to be held in jail in Minsk


At least 24 opposition activists arrested between late April and the end of last week are currently held in the detention center on Akrestsina Street in Minsk, according to human rights defenders.

Two more activists are serving jail sentences in Hrodna, while one more is jailed in Slonim, Hrodna region, and one in Homyel, the Belarusian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported with reference to Anastasiya Loyka of the Vyasna human rights center.

She said that two of the activists jailed in Minsk - Yury Rubtsow and Dzmitry Paliyenka - were on hunger strike to protest their arrest and jailing.

Two activists jailed over last month’s Chernobyl anniversary march - Mikalay Kolas, a resident of the Dzyarzhynski district, and Russian citizen Vladimir Novikov - were to serve out their 15-day jail sentences on Sunday. The latter was expected to be banned from entering Belarus for 10 years upon his release.

Nine people are to be released from the Minsk jail on May 16, according to Ms. Loyka.

The rights defender expressed fears that more people could be jailed in Minsk during the May 9-25 Ice Hockey World Championship.

The administration of the detention center on Akrestsina Street has reserved a total of 100 places for political activists for the duration of the hockey championship, said Ms. Loyka.