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Russian Historian Jailed In Belarus After Lecture On Anarchism

Activists say a court in Belarus has jailed a Russian professor for six days on a hooliganism charge after police barged into a lecture he was giving on the history of anarchism.

Police interrupted Pyotr Ryabov's lecture in the western city of Hrodno on October 9, briefly detaining him and about 20 other people and confiscating several of his books.

Police in Belarus, where authoritarian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's government tolerates little dissent and protests are frequently broken up, described their actions as an operation to prevent an "unsanctioned mass gathering."

The Minsk-based Vyasna (Spring) human rights center said that Ryabov, a professor at the Moscow Pedagogical University, was detained again in nearby Baranavichy on October 10 as he was preparing to leave for Russia.

On October 11, a court there found Ryabov guilty of hooliganism and ordered him to spend six days in jail.

Belarusian human rights activist Alyaksandr Vaytseshyk, who came to the hearing to support Ryabov, was detained in the courtroom and charged with contempt of court.

According to Vyasna, Ryabov announced a hunger strike to protest his incarceration.

With reporting by Vyasna