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12 Oct, 2010 08:41

Belarus guilty of political repression – UN human rights watchdog

The UN Human Rights Council has ruled that a Belarusian opposition politician was a victim of political repression.

It says Mikhail Marinich, who was arrested in 2004, was tortured and subjected to humiliation techniques and an unfair trial.

He had quit a diplomatic job to pursue a political career challenging President Lukashenko. But he was charged with stealing computers from the US Embassy in Minsk, despite the embassy saying that it gave them to him for free. He spent two years behind bars.

The Council’s ruling means the Belarusian state must provide Marinich with compensation and appropriate medical treatment. Minsk must also open a criminal case into the way he was treated.

Belarus must report to the UN within 100 days on the action it has taken.

The Belarusian president, who is often regarded as Europe’s last dictator, is accused of breaching human rights laws with his policies.