Belarus court jails Japanese man for 16 years over involvement in 2020 protest

A court in Belarus has sentenced a Japanese man to a 16-year prison term for involvement in protests against the allegedly fraudulent results of the 2020 presidential election.

The Japanese Embassy in Belarus and a human rights group there have reported that the court handed down the sentence on Tuesday to the 22-year-old resident in the capital, Minsk, for involvement in mass riots and other charges.

The man had been arrested on August 12, 2020, on suspicion of being taking part in rallies, which were staged around the country in protest against alleged election fraud during the presidential race in that month.
President Alexander Lukashenko won election for a sixth term.

The embassy says it will do whatever it can to support the man. It demands that the Belarusian government release him.

Many senior members of anti-government groups were arrested during the protests that followed the election. Many of them were given prison terms, prompting international criticism of the heavy-handed measures taken by Lukashenko.