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Belarusian Activists Sentenced Over Euromaidan Commemorations

MINSK -- Five Belarusian activists detained while commemorating victims of a crackdown on antigovernment protests in neighboring Ukraine were sentenced to jail terms on January 23.

A court in Minsk sentenced Maksim Vinyarski and Ales Makayeu to 15 days in jail and handed 10-day jail terms to Mikola Kolas and Yauhen Batura. Volha Mikalaychyk was sentenced to five days in jail.

The five were among some 15 activists who marked a year since the deaths of the first victims of a crackdown on pro-Western Euromaidan protests in Kyiv on January 22. They prayed, sang the Ukrainian national anthem, and placed flowers at the monument to Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko near the Ukrainian Embassy in Minsk.

The activists then unfolded a portrait of Mikhail Zhyzneuski, a Belarusian national who was shot dead while protesting in Kyiv on January 22, 2014.

Police in Minsk detained nine of the activists but later released four of them.

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