Moscow - A court in the Belarusian capital Minsk has sentenced an opposition leader to two years in a punishment camp for criticizing authoritarian President Aleksander Lukashenko, a Russian radio station reported Sunday. Andrei Klimow was accused of insulting the president in an internet article, Echo Moskwy radio reported colleagues of the opposition politician as saying.
The legal process took place behind closed doors. There was no statement from the authorities as to why it was held in secret.
Lukashenko, ruling since 1994, has been described by critics as the "last dictator in Europe." In recent times the former Soviet republic has seen harsher police and legal action against opponents of the regime.
This was the first time an opposition figure had been charged over an internet article. Human rights activists said Klimow's article contained nothing criminal or libelous.