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Belarusian Opposition Leader Goes On Trial for Slander


A Belarusian opposition leader has gone on trial on charges of slandering President Alexander Lukashenko.

Prosecutors say Andrei Klimov insulted the president in a series of writings. His closed-door trial began Wednesday in Minsk.

Mr. Klimov was a key figure in a large opposition rally in Minsk last month that called for Mr. Lukashenko's resignation. The demonstration came as Kyrgyzstan ousted its leader in mass protests.

The Associated Press quotes Mr. Klimov as saying, as he entered court today, that he is innocent and the trial is an attempt to intimidate him.

Critics say Mr. Lukashenko has steadily consolidated power and stifled media freedom and democracy since he took power in 1994. International human rights representatives have also criticized his record.

Some information for this report provided by AP.

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