Belarusian Oppositionist Receives Two Years On Probation

A district court in Minsk on February 20 handed down a two-year suspended prison sentence with two years' probation to opposition activist Kanstantsin Lukashou, Belapan and RFE/RL's Belarus Service reported. Lukashou, a researcher with the National Academy of Sciences, was found guilty of committing violence against police. The charge stemmed from a police attempt to detain Lukashou's brother, Vyachaslau Siuchyk, who took an active part in postelection protests in Minsk in March 2006. Siuchyk, who was arrested by police in Minsk on March 23 and immediately hospitalized because of injuries suffered during the arrest, escaped from the hospital six days later in a car driven by Lukashou. One of the plainclothes policemen who tried to apprehend the two men charged later that he was hit by Lukashou's car. "The court handed down the sentence on the basis of blatantly false testimony by the victim, which held no water," Lukashou told journalists after the verdict. JM