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Belarus Court Sentences Leading Opposition Figure To Jail

Opposition politician Syarhey Skrabets has been sentenced to jail (file photo) (RFE/RL) 14 February 2006 -- The Belarus Supreme Court has sentenced opposition figure Syarhey Skrabets to 2 1/2 years in jail for misusing a state credit.

The court handed down the verdict today in Minsk.

Skrabets, a former member of parliament, was arrested in May 2005. He intended to challenge President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in next month's presidential election, but withdrew from the race.

Human rights groups have said the charges against Skrabets are political in nature.

Several opposition leaders have been jailed ahead of the election, which Lukashenka is widely expected to win. Lukashenka has said he will not tolerate a Georgian- or Ukrainian-style popular revolution.

(Reuters, AFP)

Video Roundtable On Belarus/Ukraine

Video Roundtable On Belarus/Ukraine

On December 8, 2005, RFE/RL and the Policy Association for an Open Society (PASOS) jointly conducted a roundtable discussion on issues relating to Belarus's post-Soviet transition. To view video of the roundtable, click here.

See also:

Belarus: Authorities 'Cleanse' Media Ahead Of 2006 Vote

Can Belarus's Opposition Unite To Challenge Lukashenka?

Belarus: The Slow-Boiling Dictatorship

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