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Belarus: Union Activist Jailed For Critical Article

Minsk, 19 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Union officials in Belarus say the head of the country's democratic trade union has been jailed for writing an article critical of the government. The article by Alyaksandr Yaroshuk criticized a decision by the Belarusian Supreme Court to close down the country's air-traffic controllers' union.

The AFP news agency said Yaroshuk was first forced to give his explanations to Belarus's Prosecutor-General's Office and then was charged with contempt of court. He was convicted and jailed yesterday.

The Belarusian government of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is regularly criticized by human rights groups and foreign governments for suppressing dissent and free speech in the country.