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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ex-Polish Ambassador Sentenced to 15 Days

MINSK -- The former Polish ambassador to Belarus was sentenced to 15 days of imprisonment Monday after being arrested in the police breakup of a protesters' tent camp last week.

Mariusz Maszkiewicz was among some 200 to 300 people arrested before dawn at the camp of protesters who had held around-the-clock demonstrations for four days to demand the rerun of a disputed presidential election.

"I was there. I am proud I was there," Maszkiewicz said after he was sentenced on charges of taking part in an unsanctioned gathering.

President Alexander Lukashenko and Belarussian authorities claim Western governments are trying to end his regime, and they frequently point to Poland as a main source of agitation.

The Polish Foreign Ministry said it would inform the European Union about Maszkiewicz's jailing and press for sanctions over "such a drastic breach of human rights." "The issue has a deeper context because Maszkiewicz was beaten," ministry spokesman Pawel Dobrowolski told the PAP news agency.

On Sunday, the Polish consul in Grodno, Janusz Dabrowski, was detained at the border because he refused to open the trunk of his vehicle for border guards, the Polish Embassy said. Poland said it was suspending operations in Grodno because Belarus was "hindering Polish diplomats in Grodno from carrying out their consular functions."