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Opposition activist in Belarus faces 3 years in prison

International

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — A Belarusian opposition activist who has rallied against the re-election of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko could face years behind bars, officials said Tuesday.

Belarus’ state Investigative Committee said that popular blogger Sergei Tikhanovski could be sentenced to three years in prison if convicted on charges of violating public order and assaulting police.

Tikhanovski has been in custody since being detained May 31 during a rally in Grodno, western Belarus. He was collecting signatures for his wife’s nomination as a presidential candidate.

The Viasna human rights center said that some 100 opposition activists have been detained across the country.

Lukashenko, who has relentlessly suppressed opposition and independent news media during more than a quarter-century in power, is seeking a sixth term in an election scheduled for Aug. 9. The 65-year-old leader appears certain to secure an easy victory despite opposition protests.

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