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Belarusians Found Guilty Of Violating Georgian Law On Occupied Territories

MINSK -- Two Belarusian citizens were found guilty of violating Georgia's law on occupied territories and given a one-year suspended prison sentence, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Syamyon and Iryna Dzyachok from the town of Beraste in western Belarus were released from custody on October 22. They were detained in Georgia on October 2 for entering the breakaway region of Abkhazia.

Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrey Savinykh told journalists that the couple will spend about two more weeks in Georgia to complete the necessary bureaucratic procedures and then return to Belarus.

On October 21, Kazbeg Dzugkoev, a Russian citizen, was sentenced in Georgia to three years in jail for entering South Ossetia. Dzugkoev, from the North Ossetian capital, Vladikavkaz, was detained in South Ossetia in early October.

The Georgian law on occupied territories adopted after Georgia's war with Russia in August 2008 envisages a jail term of up to four years for foreigners who enter the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia using checkpoints that are not controlled by Georgian authorities.

CORRECTION: The original version of this article wrongly stated that Georgian law does not allow foreigners to enter South Ossetia or Abkhazia.