By Moscow correspondent Norman Hermant
The former Soviet republic of Belarus is facing a wave of criticism after an opposition activist was jailed for four years for his role in protesting against the country's recent presidential election.
The activist was the first of nearly 40 leading opposition figures to be tried for taking part in a mass demonstration after last December's re-election of president Alexander Lukashenka.
The United States has criticised the trials and called for the immediate release of all detainees.
Mr Lukashenka's victory has been disputed by European election monitors.
In response to the harsh crackdown that followed the vote the European Union and the US have imposed travel restrictions on the Belorussian president and senior government officials.
Three presidential candidates that ran against Mr Lukashenka are still in custody.