WARSAW: Poland's prime minister denounced on Friday the sentencing of Ales Bialiatski, a veteran Belarusian activist and a Nobel Prize laureate, to 10 years in jail.

“Today’s verdict is yet another outrageous decision of a Belarusian court recently,“ Mateusz Morawiecki said in a Facebook post.

“The (Belarusian) authorities have repeatedly tried to silence him, but Ales Bialiatski never conceded in his fight for human rights and democracy in Belarus,“ Morawiecki said of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient.

Bialiatski was accused of smuggling cash into Belarus to allegedly fund opposition activities.

Co-defendants Valentin Stefanovich was given nine years in prison and Vladimir Labkovich was jailed for seven. All three pleaded not guilty.

Bialiatski, 60, founded the ex-Soviet authoritarian country's most prominent rights group, Viasna, in 1996.

Last month, a court in Belarus sentenced a Polish-Belarusian journalist Andrzej Poczobut to eight years in prison over his critical reporting, stoking further tensions between Belarus and neighbouring Poland. - AFP

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