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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Uzbekistan: Release Azam Farmonov (UA 114/15)
Human rights defender and prisoner of conscience, Azam Farmonov, has been sentenced to a further five-year imprisonment for allegedly violating prison rules. He was due to be released at the end of April after serving nine years in prison.