On 1 February 2010 a court sentenced Ivan Mikhailau to 3 months of arrest. He was found guilty of „draft evasion“. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights considers Ivan Mikhailau as a prisoner of conscience, who is detained solely because he has been denied his right to perform an alternative civilian service, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.
Ivan Mikhailov, a Messianic Jew, is unable to do military service because of his religious beliefs. He asked instead to be assigned to alternative civilian service, in line with Article 57 of Belarus' Constitution. He is already detained since 15 December 2009.
Ivan Mikhailau insists he is not guilty, and that he hadn’t evaded the call-up campaign. He openly insisted on realization of his constitutional right to perform alternative civilian service.
Ivan Mikhailau will launch a cassation appeal into the Minsk Oblast Court. Until the case is considered in the court of higher instance, Ivan Mikhailau will remain in pre-trial prison.
In November 2009 Dzmitry Smyk, a Jehovah's Witness, was given a large fine after refusing compulsory military and demanding his right on alternative civilian service. He is banned from leaving Belarus and restricted on his freedom of movement within the country.