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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Activists Convicted




MINSK, Belarus -- A Belarussian court convicted two teenagers Tuesday of hooliganism and desecration of the national flag in a case that critics say recalls Soviet-era political repression.


The two were each sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison for the offense. Alexei Shidlovsky, 19, was to start serving his term immediately, but Vadim Labkovich, 16, got a suspended sentence.


Monitors from the New York-based Human Rights Watch, who attended the trial, described it as one of the worst examples of President Alexander Lukashenko's drive to stifle dissent.


Both young men, who are members of the youth wing of the Belarussian Popular Front, the leading opposition group, have been held since August.