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Belarusian Activists Jailed On Eve Of Chornobyl Anniversary

Many Belarusian opposition activists have marked the Chornobyl anniversary
POLATSK -- Two Belarusian activists detained in the northern city of Polatsk on April 25 were sentenced to two days of jail on April 26, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Viktar Kalesnik and Alyaksandr Kalintsau were found guilty of using "vulgar words while talking loudly" in a public place.

Kalesnik told RFE/RL that he and Kalintsau were detained in a cafe in Polatsk on April 25. Kalesnik said the policemen who testified as witnesses at the trial were not there when they were arrested. He said their testimony was stumbling and controversial.

Kalesnik also said they learned that they were detained for using vulgar language in public when they were in the police car.

He said authorities detained him and Kalintsau and sentenced them to two days in jail in order to isolate them for the 25th anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster.

On April 25, Polatsk authorities rejected a request by Kalesnik to hold a public gathering to mark the Chornobyl anniversary.

Kalesnik said officials decided to isolate the two activists with the jail sentences so they would not be able to organize an unsanctioned gathering.

Read more in Belarusian here