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Protester At Site Of Stalin-Era Killings In Belarus Jailed

A Belarusian activist protests against the building of an office center near Kurapaty outside Minsk last month.

MINSK -- An activist who took part in a 15-day protest that halted a construction project near a protected historical site on the outskirts of the Belarusian capital has been sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Syarhey Palcheuski was found guilty of taking part in an unsanctioned public gathering and sent to jail late on March 7.

Christian Democratic Party Chairman Paval Sevyarynets told RFE/RL that it was not clear what Palcheuski was being punished for.

Palcheuski was an active participant in the protests at the Kurapaty preserve, where at least 30,000 people were killed and buried by the Soviet authorities under dictator Josef Stalin in the 1930s and 1940s.

He handcuffed himself to a truck at the site in late February, and lay on the ground, blocking the construction work for two hours.

The protesters said the construction of a business center adjacent to the preserve would desecrate the memory of Stalin's victims.

Construction work was suspended on March 1 and the protesters removed their camp at the site on March 6.

Palcheuski also took part in a protest on February 17 in Minsk against legislation imposing a special tax on the unemployed.

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