Cartoon about oppression in Belarus
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Belarusian opposition

A Belarusian court on Monday sentenced Maria Kolesnikova, a prominent opposition figure who led mass street protests against President Alexander Lukashenko, to 11 years in prison, the latest move in a widespread crackdown on government critics following a contested election last year.

Kolesnikova and another opposition activist, Maxim Znak, were charged with extremism and conspiring to "seize state power in an unconstitutional way" in a trial held in the capital Minsk behind closed doors, Belarusian state media Belta reported. Znak, who is also a key member of the coordination council formed by opponents of Lukashenko's authoritarian government, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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