Amnesty International welcomes the release from prison on January 23 of Zmitser Dashkevich, leader of a youth organization that advocates political freedom in Belarus. AI mounted a global campaign to win his release featuring his case in a Global Write-a-thon in December through which thousands of people across the United States appealed for his release. As one of Amnesty International USA's Special Focus Cases, Zmitser Dashkevich's case was a particular focus for action by Amnesty student activists, who joined youth activists around the world in sending 10,000 origami cranes to Belarusian authorities in a symbolic plea for freedom for Mr. Dashkevich and other prisoners of conscience.
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Saudi Authorities Must Put an End to Public Flogging of Blogger
On January 9, Saudi Arabian authorities publicly lashed Raif Badawi 50 times – the first flogging meted after Raif was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years imprisonment in May 2014.