Belarus presidential candidate sentenced to 5 years in prison for inciting riots

On May 14, 2011, Belarus's Minsk City Court sentenced former presidential candidate Andrey Sannikay to a five-year maximum security prison sentence for organizing protests following the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko in December 2010. Both the US and the European Union (EU) condemned Sannikau's conviction as an act of political suppression. In January 2012, US President Barack Obama signed the Belarus Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2011 [PDF] into law, which imposed sanctions on Belarus and labeled President Lukashenko as a dictator. This legislative action by the US was preceded by a suggestion from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in September 2011 calling for UN intervention in Belarus to address what she called a rapid decline in human rights.

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