14:05 GMT +326 September 2017
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    Russians arrested in Minsk riots fined, released

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    Two Russian nationals arrested in Belarus after a mass protest following the reelection of President Alexander Lukashenko, were fined $3,500 on Thursday and released.

    Two Russian nationals arrested in Belarus after a mass protest following the reelection of President Alexander Lukashenko, were fined $3,500 on Thursday and released.

    Hundreds of people were detained after the December 19 demonstration in central Minsk. Forty-two people are facing lengthy jail terms for inciting "mass unrest."

    Artyom Breus and his compatriot Ivan Gaponov were among those who were detained in the clampdown. They were found guilty of participating in the mass unrest and fined $3,500.

    Both men said they were pleased with the light sentence, but were planning to appeal the verdict. They also thanked the Russian Embassy in Belarus for its commitment and support.

    Belarusian authorities are pursuing the cancelation of Gaponov's residence permit in Belarus. His mother, Sabira Atakishieva, expressed hope that her son would not be deported from the country.

    "I was thinking that they can cancel the residence permit. But this is absurd, we have been living here for 16 years," Atakishieva said.

    The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Belarus over the post-election crackdown.

    MINSK, March 10 (RIA Novosti) 

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