Belarus opposition activist sentenced to 3/12 years in prison

MINSK, Belarus A Belarus opposition activist has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison in connection with last year's demonstration against the allegedly rigged presidential election.

Nikita Likhovid, 20, was sentenced Tuesday. Authorities said he was among demonstrators who broke windows at the government administration building on Dec. 19.

But his lawyer, Darya Lipkina, said none of the 23 police officers called as witnesses in the case identified him as among the vandals.

The demonstrators were protesting the allegedly fraudulent vote count that returned authoritarian incumbent Alexander Lukashenko to power.

Police arrested some 700 people in connection with the demonstration, including seven opposition candidates. Many opposition figures have alleged the vandalism was committed by provocateurs to give a pretext for dispersing the protest.


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