The totalitarian regime headed by "President" Alexander Lukashenko, currently on his fourth term after being "re-elected" in fraud elections that indicated he garnered over 80% of the nation's votes, is tightening its grip on Belarus effectively putting the innocent citizens of the country into a prison where they must lower their heads and carry on with a semblance of normal day-to-day lives. The government has increasingly been regulating the Internet and the media by eliminating independent news outlets and cracking down on dissidents.
Mass protests and rallies erupted immediately after the December 2010 elections, the majority of which took place in the capital of Minsk.
Clashes between Belarus activists and the state police soon occurred resulting in injuries and over 1,000 arrests made with stun grenades, nightsticks and other riot instruments.
Speculators were injured and even arrested with the government giving the excuse of "subduing a rebellion".
Offices and homes of alleged dissidents along with independent news organizations were raided and damaged by the police. Pockets of resistance have emerged within the capital of Minsk with waves of demonstrations that kept up well into 2011.
In response to the immense pressure and sanctions put onto the regime by the international community including the freezing of assets, travel bans and pledges of millions of U.S. dollars in aid to opposition groups, Lukashenko's government reluctantly pardoned most of the jailed people who allegedly took part in the so called "riots".
Of course, there are still many individuals in labor camps and "penal colonies" who are still wasting away under the government's watchful eye. Among the crowd is Zmitser Dashkevich who has been declared a "prisoner of conscience" by Amnesty International.
Dashkevich is the leader of a youth dissident movement called "Young Front" and was forced to serve an entire year in a prison in northwestern Belarus along with others.
Dashkevich is still in prison serving time for a false charge of "assaulting a civilian" before the day of nationwide elections in December 2010. He has been abused in prison numerous times by being repeatedly put into what is called a "punishment cell" which is basically a concrete cell with nothing in it where temperature can drop down to 15 degrees Celsius during the winter.
He was offered the pardon extended to most of those who protested by Lukashenko but reportedly refused the offer saying that he was never guilty of any crime.