Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Belarus Closes 2 Independent Newspapers + Sent Opposition Leader To Prison

Posted by Info on 27/04/2011

Belarus’ authoritarian government further tightened the screws on dissent Wednesday by shutting down two independent newspapers and sending another opposition leader to prison for two years.

The daily newspapers Nasha Niva and Narodnaya Volya were closed after receiving two or more warnings in the past year over their political coverage. Nasha Niva, the oldest newspaper in the country, dating back to 1906, has a circulation of 6,000 and receives 10,000 visitors to its website daily. Narodnaya Volya is larger, with a daily circulation of about 30,000.

Opposition leader Dmitry Bondarenko was found guilty in court of organizing an election-night rally in December to protest the results of the vote that extended the rule of President Alexander Lukashenko.
Some 700 people were arrested, including seven presidential candidates.
Seven opposition figures have already been sentenced to jail terms of two to four years for their part in the protest. Ten more, including presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov, are still on trial.

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