Belarus opposition activist jailed for 4 years over poll protests

A Minsk court on Thursday sentenced Belarusian opposition activist Vasily Parfenkov to four years in prison for participating in mass protests following the December 19 presidential elections.

Parfenkov, who worked on the campaign staff of opposition presidential candidate Vladimir Neklayev, was also fined about $5,000 for damaging state property, smashing windows and breaking doors.

"As part of a rampaging mob, [Parfenkov] attempted to break into a government building, delivering at least 61 blows to a wooden fence at the entrance to the building," the verdict said.

Parfenkov's lawyer said he would appeal the sentence.

More than 600 people, including 11 Russians, were detained in Belarus during protests against the presidential polls, called "flawed" by international observers, that saw President Alexander Lukashenko reelected to a fourth term in office.

MINSK, February 17 (RIA Novosti)


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