Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Belarus Sentences Opposition Activist to Four Years in Prison

Posted by Info on 17/02/2011

Belarus sentenced an opposition activist to four years in jail for his part in mass unrest following the disputed re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, defying Western calls for the authoritarian leader to free political prisoners.

Vasily Parfenkov is the first of 37 opposition figures, including five candidates who ran against Mr. Lukashenko, to stand trial; they were charged after thousands hit the streets of Minsk on Dec. 19 to protest a ballot that international monitors said was tainted by large-scale fraud.

The U.S. and the European Union earlier this month banned travel by and froze assets of Mr. Lukashenko and more than 150 of his associates after Minsk launched a violent crackdown against protesters. EU ministers said sanctions could only be lifted after political prisoners were released.

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