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Belarusian Prosecutors Demand Seven Years For Opposition Leader

May 13, 2011

Belarusian prosecutors have demanded a seven-year prison sentence for opposition leader Andrey Sannikau on charges of organizing mass protests after last year's disputed presidential election.

A prosecutor told a court in Minsk that video evidence proved that Sannikau, who ran against President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in the December 19 election, had called people out onto the street.

Thousands of people gathered in a central square in the capital on election night to protest the results of the poll, which the opposition says was rigged.

Sannikau has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Sannikau is among dozens of opposition figures and activists standing trial over the postelection protests.

More than a dozen have already been sentenced to up to four years in prison for taking part in the protests.

On May 12, Sannikau asked the court not to consider testimony he gave in prison as it was given under constant torture and threats by the security service, the KGB, of possible harm to his wife and son.

compiled from agency reports


Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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