Alyaksandr Kazulin (file photo) (epa)
September 19, 2006 -- A Belarusian court today upheld a five and a half year prison sentence handed down to a leader of the opposition, Alyaksandr Kazulin.
The Minsk City Court rejected an appeal from Kazulin's lawyers and ruled that his July sentencing by a district court was justified.
Kazulin was convicted on charges of organizing an unsanctioned rally against the disputed reelection of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. He was not allowed to attend the court's session. In an open letter to judges released by his lawyer on September 18, Kazulin said the official charges against him were fabricated.
Kazulin ran against Lukashenka in the March 19 election, which were deemed by the opposition and Western nations to be forged.