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Reporter convicted of insulting Lukashenko
Associated Press
2011-07-05 08:42 PM
A journalist for one of Poland's leading newspapers has been convicted of insulting Belarus' authoritarian president, but is free after being handed a suspended sentence.

The case of Andrzej Poczobut had drawn wide attention to the repressive regime of Alexander Lukashenko, especially from Poland. Belarus has a large ethnic Polish community.

Poczobut is a correspondent for Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza in the city of Grodno, near the Polish border. He was arrested in April on charges that several of his articles insulted Lukashenko.

In a closed trial in Grodno, the court on Tuesday convicted him and gave him a three-year suspended sentence.

"It was only thanks to our solidarity that I have been released," Poczobut told supporters who had gathered outside the cordoned-off courthouse.

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