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Belarusian Opposition Leader Jailed For Three Months

Belarusian oppositionist Mikalay Kazlou (file photo)
Belarusian oppositionist Mikalay Kazlou (file photo)

MINSK -- Belarusian opposition leader Mikalay Kazlou was sentenced to three months in jail on August 6 on charges that he disclosed information related to an official probe into an anti-regime crisis council that sprang up after Alyaksandr Lukashenka's disputed claim to a sixth presidential term one year ago.

The Minsk-based human rights center Vyasna (Spring) cited the verdict, by a court in the capital.

Kazlou heads the United Civil Party (AHP) and is a member of the Coordination Council of Belarusian Opposition (KRBA), which was set up by Lukashenka's opponents after the vote in order to facilitate a peaceful transfer of power.

All of the council's members have been jailed, forced to leave the country, or otherwise targeted for punishment since the unprecedented street protests began, unleashing a fierce crackdown by authorities in the post-Soviet nation of around 9 million people.

Kazlou's trial began on August 3 but details of the charges are unclear because it was held behind closed doors.

Before his arrest in March, Kazlou told RFE/RL that Minsk police had launched a probe against him.

He said they accused him of disclosing data related to an investigation after he was questioned as a witness in a case against other KRBA members who are accused of urging people to seize power illegally.

Kazlou told RFE/RL at the time that he was also accused of refusing to sign a document agreeing not to disclose the details of his interrogation.

Kazlou has led the AHP since 2018.

His party called on Belarusians not to vote for Lukashenka, who has run Belarus since 1994.

Almost 30,000 people have been detained, hundreds more beaten, several killed, and journalists targeted in the yearlong crackdown.

Lukashenka and other senior officials have been targeted by sanctions by the West, where many countries have refused to recognize him as the country's legitimate leader and demanded a fair election.

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