The wife of a jailed former presidential candidate in Belarus says her husband is seeking a pardon from the country's authoritarian leader because he fears for his life.

Andrei Sannikov is serving a five-year prison term on a conviction of organizing riots following the presidential election in December 2010. He was one of seven candidates arrested at or following a massive demonstration on election night protesting alleged vote fraud.

Sannikov's wife Irina Khalip spoke to reporters Wednesday in Minsk.

She says that she saw Sannikov on Tuesday, their first visit in three months. He looked frail and held up a message to the glass in the visiting area saying "They could kill me at any moment."

He applied to President Alexander Lukashenko for a pardon in November, she said.