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Wednesday, June 08, 2005


U.N. condemns Belarus sentences

From Reuters AlertNet:

A United Nations human rights investigator on Tuesday condemned the sentencing of two prominent opposition leaders in Belarus to compulsory labour for organising a rally against President Alexander Lukashenko.

Adrian Severin, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Belarus, said their sentence of three years of restricted freedom had been cut to two years due to an amnesty linked to the 60th anniversary of the end of World War Two.

Nikolai Statkevich and Pavel Severinets helped stage one of the ex-Soviet state's largest recent protests against Lukashenko in October after the veteran leader won overwhelming support in a referendum to enable him to prolong his stay in power. Western countries have denounced the poll as rigged.

Severin, whose requests to visit Belarus have been denied, told the annual U.N. Commission on Human Rights in March that Lukashenko recognised no "constitutional, legal or institutional limitation".

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