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Belarusian Athlete Fired For Taking Part In Protest

Andrey Vilkin and his wife Svyatlana
Andrey Vilkin and his wife Svyatlana
MINSK -- Prominent Belarusian athlete Andrey Vilkin has lost a university teaching job because of his participation in a mass protest over December's disputed presidential election, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Vilkin, a lecturer at the Belarusian National University's Physical Education Department and chairman of the Belarusian Karate Federation, was fired from his job at the university this week.

Vilkin was arrested by Minsk police on December 19 along with hundreds of others who were protesting the official results of the vote that saw the reelection of incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Vilkin was later found guilty of taking part in an unsanctioned mass gathering and sentenced to 15 days in jail.

His wife, Svyatlana Vilkina, a karate world champion, was also arrested on December 19 and spent a day in jail.

Vilkina wrote an article for the Russian-language newspaper "Sovetskaya Belorussia" (Soviet Belarus) last month in which she said she and her husband did not participate in the demonstration but saw their son there and went to talk to him.

Read in Belarusian