Belarus editor seeks refuge in Ukraine

MINSK, Belarus, June 16 (UPI) -- Reporters Without Borders has asked for support for a Belarus journalist who is seeking political asylum in Ukraine.

Andrei Shentorovich, who founded the independent weekly Mestnaya Gazeta in 2001, left Belarus in March, eight days after the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko.

"We are tired of seeing how the harassment of independent journalists continues to increase in Belarus," Reporters Without Borders said. "Shentorovich is not the only editor to have left the country in recent years to escape the systematic political repression. His decision is yet further evidence that dissident journalists are pushed to the limit and then forced out."

The group said the last straw was Shentorovich's arrest the day before the election. He was given a summary sentence of three days in jail -- which not only kept him from reporting on the election, but from voting as well.

Authorities also ordered him to stop publishing articles critical of the government.