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Belarus Man Hit By Police Vehicle During Rallies Gets Two-Year Prison Term


Images of Suhoydz being hit by the police vehicle went viral last year.

MINSK -- A Belarusian man who was hit by a police vehicle in Minsk during rallies against the results of a presidential election Alyaksandr Lukashenka claims to have won, has been sentenced to two years in prison after a court convicted him of "disrupting public transportation operations" and "disrupting social order."

The district court in Minsk on March 19 found Yahor Suhoydz guilty of walking in the middle of the road and "jumping" on a police vehicle. He was sentenced the same day.

Suhoydz, who sustained head injuries from the accident, insists that he was at the unsanctioned rally to protest the results of the election that handed a sixth term to strongman Lukashenka and did not jump on the car.

Images of Suhoydz being hit by the vehicle went viral at the time.

In a separate case, a court in the western city of Hrodna sentenced musician Ihar Bantser to 18 months in an open prison, meaning that he will live under strict restrictions in a special dormitory and work at an industrial facility chosen by the state penitentiary service.

Bantser, who has been on hunger strike for 17 days to protest his arrest, was found guilty of publicly insulting police by showing them intimate parts of his body.

Belarus has witnessed almost daily protests since Lukashenka was declared the winner of the August 9 election by a landslide amid allegations of widespread fraud.

More than 30,000 people have been detained, hundreds beaten, several killed, and journalists targeted in the government’s crackdown.

Lukashenka, who has run Belarus since 1994, and top officials have been slapped with sanctions by the West, which refuses to recognize him as the legitimate leader of the former Soviet republic.

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    RFE/RL's Belarus Service is one of the leading providers of news and analysis to Belarusian audiences in their own language. It is a bulwark against pervasive Russian propaganda and defies the government’s virtual monopoly on domestic broadcast media.

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