Belarus opposition leader jailed after joining protest

A leading Belarus opposition politician has been jailed amid a crackdown on protests against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko’s re-election bid

MINSK, Belarus -- A leading Belarus opposition politician was jailed Monday amid a crackdown on protesters who rallied against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko's re-election bid, rights activists said.

Lukashenko, who has relentlessly suppressed opposition and independent news media during more than a quarter-century in power, is seeking a new term in an election scheduled for Aug. 9.

Nikolai Statkevich, one of Belarus’ most prominent opposition figures, was handed a 15-day jail term Monday after taking part in Sunday's protest in the capital, Minsk, according to the Viasna rights group. Statkevich served six years in prison for involvement in protests after the 2010 election.

Viasna said that more than 50 opposition activists detained in recent days were to face courts in several parts of the country.

On Friday, popular opposition blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky was detained during a rally in Grodno, the country’s fourth-largest city.