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Belarus: Court Backs Conviction Of Opposition Leader's Son

Minsk, 18 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- A Belarusian court has upheld the conviction of the son of a prominent opposition leader. Alyaksandr Chyhir and two other men were convicted of car theft in March and each was sentenced to more than seven years in a maximum-security prison. Today, the Minsk City Court upheld the lower court conviction, which Chyhir's family has called a "political persecution."

His father, Mikhail Chyhir, was prime minister of Belarus from 1994-96 and later became a leading figure in the opposition to President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Opposition United Civic Party head Anatol Lyabedzka commented after the initial sentencing on 6 March that the sentence is the authorities' revenge for the opposition activities of his father.