Belarus jails opposition campaigner for supporting protests

[JURIST] A Belarus court on Monday sentenced Sergei Lyashkevich, an official who helped run the campaign of opposition presidential candidate Alexander Milinkevich [campaign website; Wikipedia profile], to five months in jail for training and paying people to riot during the protests that ensued after the March presidential election [JURIST report]. Lyashkevich, who headed Milinkevich's campaign office in the western town of Shchuchin, was convicted under legislation [JURIST report] enacted by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko [official website; BBC profile] in the months before the reelection. The law allows a maximum two-year sentence for financing or preparing people to partake in "mass disorder."

Lukashenko won over Milinkevich by a landslide 80 percent of the popular vote in an election that has been widely condemned as fraudulent [JURIST report] by election observers and Western governments. Since the election, over 1,000 opposition members have been arrested for attending unauthorized demonstrations, including Milinkevich [JURIST report]. AP has more.

 

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