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Belarusian Court Rescinds Jail Sentence Against Prominent Journalist

  • RFE/RL's Belarus Service

MINSK -- A Belarusian court has rescinded the jail sentence of a prominent journalist who was accused of involvement in antigovernment rallies in 2010.

Iryna Khalip, a reporter for Russia's "Novaya gazeta" newspaper, had received a two-year suspended sentence and travel restrictions for her alleged involvement in protests after Belarus's disputed 2010 presidential election.

Khalip is married to former Belarusian presidential candidate Andrey Sannikau.

He officially finished a distant second behind authoritarian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in the 2010 vote.

After the ruling on July 19, Khalip said she didn't feel safe in Belarus because journalists and opposition activists continue to be persecuted by what she described as the "fascist regime."

"Over the past two years I have been, in effect, under house arrest. And don't forget about my five months in jail, which I guess the state has now given me as a souvenir. And after all that, am I supposed to say 'thank you' for not being sent to jail? No way, guys," Khalip said.

"As long as this regime of fascists and bastards exists, there is no such thing as a 'former' political prisoner in Belarus. That's all. Moreover, even those who are not imprisoned right now are still political prisoners."

With reporting by Reuters