Accessibility links

Breaking News

Belarusian Opposition Leaders Detained, Sentenced

Alyaksandr Milinkevich (left) leads an April 26 march to mark the anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster (RFE/RL) MINSK, April 27, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- A court in Minsk today sentenced Belarus's main opposition leader to 15 days in jail on charges of organizing an unsanctioned protest rally.

Alyaksandr Milinkevich was sentenced just hours after being arrested.

The same court today gave another two opposition figures -- Popular Front leader Vintsuk Vyachorka and Labour Party chairman Alyaksandr Buchvostau -- similar jail sentences for taking part in the rally.

A fourth opposition leader, Syarhey Kalyakin of the Communist Party, received a 14-day jail term.

The opposition called the march to protest against the government's handling of the consequences of Chornobyl disaster, the world's worst nuclear accident. The event, held on the 20th anniversary of the disaster, attracted thousands of demonstrators.

Opposition parties are reportedly considering staging a new march on May 1.

The opposition has staged several street protests since President Alyaksandr Lukashenka was reelected on March 19 in an election international organizations say failed to meet democratic standards.

RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, And Moldova Report

RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, And Moldova Report

SUBSCRIBE For weekly news and analysis on Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova by e-mail, subscribe to "RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, And Moldova Report."

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.