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Journalist and political activist Dimitry Bondarenko released

(WiPC/IFEX) - 19 April 2012 - The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International welcomes the release of Dimitry Bondarenko (also referred to as Dzmitry Bandarenka) on 15 April 2012. He was released jointly with Andrei Sannikov, who ran against President Alexander Lukashenko in the 2010 presidential election.

Bondarenko, a PEN main case and a journalist with Charter 97, was sentenced on 27 April 2011 to two years in prison under Article 342 of the Criminal Code of Belarus for 'preparation of activities that disrupt the public order' and ordered to pay a fine for damages to public transport. He was arrested on 19 December 2010, during the mass arrests which followed protests against the flawed presidential elections, and originally charged with 'organization of riots'. He was also accused of using the internet to call for participation in the protest and 'expressing false statements about undemocratic elections'. Bondarenko admitted his participation in the mass demonstrations, but pleaded not guilty to the other charges. A week ago we expressed our concerns over his deteriorating health and inadequate medical attention he received in prison.

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