Belarussian Opposition Worker Gets 15-Day Jail Sentence

By VOA News

Authorities in Belarus have sentenced a key campaign aide of the opposition's leading presidential candidate to 15 days in jail.

A court in Minsk Thursday sentenced Vintsuk Vyachorka, leader of the Belarus Popular Front, on charges of taking part in what it called an unsanctioned demonstration.

Police detained him and other key members of the campaign staff of opposition presidential candidate Alexander Milinkevich Wednesday. The detentions followed an opposition rally in the Belarusian capital.

Another opposition activist says he was detained Wednesday and his apartment was searched.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a resolution Wednesday expressing support for democratic processes in Belarus. The resolution urged Belarus to conduct free and fair presidential elections and expressed support for the Belarusian people.

The European Union Thursday also called on Belarusian authorities to assure presidential elections are free and fair.

President Alexander Lukashenko has ruled the former Soviet republic since 1994, and is seeking a third term.

The West has criticized him for his poor human rights record and for quashing political opposition. The United States has called Mr. Lukashenko Europe's last dictator.