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Student activist Alyaksandr Barazenka in a court in Minsk on December 8.
A student activist in Belarus said today he is going to appeal to international organizations, including the UN and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, in an effort to make Belarusian authorities change his verdict.

On December 9, Alyaksandr Barazenka, an activist in the European Belarus campaign, was found guilty of "active participation in group actions grossly disturbing the public peace" and sentenced to one year of "restricted freedom" without having to go to jail.

His charges came from his participation in a demonstration held in downtown Minsk on January 10 against a government crackdown on small-business owners.

He told RFE/RL that he will now not be able to go to Poland to continue his studies at the University of Wroclaw.
Human rights activists in Russia are expressing concern over proposed amendments to the Criminal Code defining "espionage" and "state treason."

The amendments were proposed for discussion in the State Duma on December 12.

State Duma deputies Vladimir Vasilyev and Pavel Krasheninnikov refused to comment on the amendments.

Meanwhile, Moscow Helsinki Group chairwoman Lyudmila Alekseyeva told RFE/RL's Russian Service on December 15 that the amendments would create an all-encompassing definition that could put anyone who visits a foreign country or spoke to a foreigner in jail as a traitor.

Moscow-based lawyer Yury Shmidt said the proposed amendments would abuse human rights and freedoms.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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