Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Journalists Exiled to Rural Belarus

MINSK, Belarus -- Two Belarussian journalists convicted of libeling President Alexander Lukashenko departed Saturday for internal exile in two of the most depressed areas of the country.

Nikolai Markevich, chief editor of the Pahonia (Pursuit) newspaper, and Pahonia reporter Pavel Mozheiko were convicted in June in the western city of Grodno of libeling the president. It was first time the law was applied.

Markevich will spend a year and a half in Osipovichi in the Mogilyov region, while Mozheiko will spend a year in Zhlobin in the Gomel region.

Both are small, economically depressed eastern towns located in areas badly affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Markevich and Mozheiko will be required to work on construction sites.

Dozens of friends and colleagues came to the Grodno train station see them off. The journalists compared their treatment to that of political prisoners under Stalin.