Belarusian opposition leader sentenced for carrying EU flag

May 3rd, 2008 - 3:19 pm ICT by admin  

Minsk (Belarus), May 3 (DPA) A leader of Belarus’ political opposition was sentenced to 10 days imprisonment for displaying a European Union (EU) flag in public. Mikola Statkevich, leader of Belarus Social Democrat party and an opponent of Belrus’ authoritarian President Aleksander Lukashenko, had been on trial for displaying the flag during an unsanctioned May 1demonstration.

Some 20 supporters of Belarus’ eventual membership in the EU gathered outside the National Library in Minsk, and unfurled banners and flags. Police arrested the participants and sent them to a city jail.

Thousands of other Minsk marchers took to the streets Thursday with pro-government and other political banners, as the former Soviet republic marked International Workers’ Day.

Statkevich Friday received the sentence handed down by Minsk judge silently. He had been charged with displaying illegal media, and participating in an unsanctioned demonstration.

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