A former deputy editor of a Belarusian newspaper has been released early from prison. On 22 February 2008, the Supreme Court of Belarus commuted Alyaksandr Zdzvizhkou’s three-year prison sentence to three months.
This decision resulted in his immediate release from the high security prison where he was being held. Amnesty International has welcomed his release, but called for his conviction to be overturned.
Alyaksandr Zdzvizhkou, former deputy editor of Zhoda (Today) newspaper, was sentenced by a Minsk city court on 18 January 2008. He had been found guilty of “inciting racial, national, or religious enmity or discord” according to Article 130.1 of the Belarusian Criminal Code.
He was sentenced for publishing the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2006 in an article reporting the protests following their original publication in Denmark in September 2005. Amnesty International regarded Alyaksandr Zdzvizhkou a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.