Belarus - Government frees opposition writer Andrei Klimau

    MONTREAL, Feb. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Writer and opposition activist Andrei
Klimau was released on 15 February, well before completion of a two-year
sentence, in what appears to be a government gesture aimed at improving
relations with the European Union.
    "We now call for the release of Alyaksandr Zdvizhkou, the editor of the
weekly Zhoda, who is serving a three-year sentence for reprinting cartoons of
the Prophet Mohammed, as his detention is a press freedom violation,"
Reporters Without Borders said.
    Arrested on 3 April 2007, Klimau was sentenced on 1 August to two years
in prison for "inciting the overthrow of the regime" in an online article
accusing President Alexandre Lukashenko of being implicated in the murder of
former deputy prime minister Viktar Hanshar.
    Klimau's release had not been expected before October at the earliest.
The release of political prisoners as a goodwill gesture has always been a
prior condition of any rapprochement with the EU.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514)

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