Bialiatski on his release.


He was released from prison under an amnesty law on Saturday 21 June, after serving almost three years of his four and a half year sentence. However, Amnesty International remain concerned that his release was not unconditional and that he must report every month to his district police station in Minsk. If he commits three administrative offences he will be sentenced again for violating the conditions of his release, likely resulting in another term of imprisonment. Ales Bialiatski told Amnesty International that his release had come as a complete surprise to him. He was on his way to work as usual when prison guards told him to go to the prison administration office. There he was told that he was to be released immediately under a prison amnesty, held to mark the 70th anniversary of Belarus' Independence Day on 3 July. He was put on a train to Minsk, where he was welcomed by his wife and a large crowd of supporters. Ales Bialiatski has said that he believes persistent domestic and international pressure led to his release, which came one year and eight months ahead of his scheduled release date. He stated to friends that he intends to continue his human rights work, as before. He told Amnesty International's researcher on Belarus, "I want to thank you especially for the moral support. The thing that made a real difference were the letters I got from ordinary people, and I want to say a special thank you to your activists for that".

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