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Upper House of Belarus Parliament Approves Measure Curbing Dissent

The upper house of the Belarus parliament has approved legislation intended to curtail dissent and political opposition.

Members of the Council of the Republic approved the measure imposing severe penalties for anyone convicted of taking actions or spreading information that would harm the national security of Belarus. The lower house approved the draft last week

The country's security service, the KGB says it drew up the legislation to forestall popular upheavals such as those that helped bring down governments in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

The proposed law must be signed by President Alexander Lukashenko to take effect.

The United States and key European organizations have expressed concern over the measure. A State Department spokesman said the bill appears to violate international norms and many of Belarus' international commitments.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.