Belarusian authorities release Polish ambassador

Poland 's former ambassador to Belarus was released from hospital Friday and was not ordered to return to prison, where he had been serving a 15-day sentence, the Polish embassy in Minsk said. Mariusz Maszkiewicz was allowed to remain free following his release from a Minsk hospital, Monika Sadkowska, a spokeswoman for the Polish embassy in Belarus told the Warsaw-based TVN24 television.

Maszkiewicz, 46, was being treated for heart problems that appeared while he was serving a 15-day prison term that he was handed last month. Maszkiewicz was detained along with opposition activists protesting the election victory of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. Belarusian authorities, who had said his time in hospital did not count as part of his prison term, had no immediate comment on the case.

Maszkiewicz has complained of being badly beaten during his detention. Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz appealed on Tuesday to Lukashenko to free Maszkiewicz, who served as ambassador to Belarus between 1998-2002, and consul between 1994-97. Belarusian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Andrei Popov said in a statement Thursday that Minsk had no intention of complying with Poland 's request, reports the AP.

N.U.