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Belarusian Activist Convicted Of Attempting To Contact Spy Agency

The scene outside the courtroom in Vitsebsk
VITSEBSK, Belarus -- An opposition activist in Belarus has been sentenced to 18 months in jail after being convicted of attempting to contact a foreign intelligence service.

Andrey Haydukou was sentenced on July 1 by the Vitsebsk Regional Court in western Belarus.

He was originally charged with high treason and espionage, but those charges were dropped during the trial, which was held behind closed doors.

Haydukou’s lawyer told journalists he will appeal the sentence.

The youth activist was arrested in November.

Belarus's KGB said he was detained while in possession of materials that might be of interest for foreign intelligence agencies.

The sentence did not specify which country's intelligence service Haydukou attempted to contact.

In 2010-11, he served as an aide to opposition presidential candidate Andrey Sannikau, who received political asylum in Britain last year.