Five opposition protesters sentenced to jail in BelarusMay 6th, 2011 - 4:44 am ICT by BNO News
MINSK, BELARUS (BNO NEWS) — A Belarusian court on Thursday sentenced five opposition activists to jail for participating in the mass protests against the December presidential elections.
According to RIA Novosti, a Minsk court sentenced Alexander Kirkevich and Pavel Vinogradov to four years in prison while Dmitry Drozd, Andrei Protasenya and Vladimir Khomichenko were sentenced to three years of imprisonment.
The five civilians were arrested and convicted for their involvement in the December 19 unrest in the Belarusian capital Minsk. The protests were against President Alexander Lukashenko who was re-elected for a fourth term.
The opposition alleged vote rigging and fraud. The United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on Belarus over the post-election crackdown. Eleven Russians and 600 citizens of Belarus were detained after the demonstration.
In February, Belarusian authorities began sentencing protesters. Vasily Parfenkov was the first individual sentenced for participating in the December 19 protests. He worked on the campaign staff of Neklyayev and was given a four-year prison term.
So far, a number of high-profile activists, who campaigned for opposition candidates, were sentenced to jail terms of up to four years. In addition, Belarusian authorities arrested six opposition candidates, including Neklayev.
The candidates were beaten and taken by KGB agents to undisclosed facilities until it was later informed that they were held at a KGB detention center. The candidates were later released.
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