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Lukashenko opponent in Belarus sentenced to five years in jail

Other News Materials 14 May 2011 21:02
A former presidential candidate who challenged Aleksander Lukashenko in December's Belarus presidential election received a five-year jail sentence Saturday
Lukashenko opponent in Belarus sentenced to five years in jail

A former presidential candidate who challenged Aleksander Lukashenko in December's Belarus presidential election received a five-year jail sentence Saturday, dpa reported.

The judgement against Andrei Sannikov, found guilty of organizing mass protests in Minsk following the December 19 contest, came despite international protests.

Sannikov, who rejected all the charges, was one of seven candidates who stood against Lukashenko - who is often described as ruling the last dictatorship in Europe.

In Washington, the US State Department described Sannikov as a "political prisoner," called for his immediate release and warned that the "results of ongoing trials (against other presidential candidates) will be taken into account as the United States continues to review its relations with Belarus and consider further measures."

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