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Belarus court sentences U.S. lawyer to 3 years in prison

August 12, 2008|From the Associated Press

MINSK, BELARUS — An American lawyer was sentenced Monday to three years in prison in Belarus in a case that raised already high tensions between Washington and the authoritarian ex-Soviet republic.

Emmanuel Zeltser was convicted at a closed trial of commercial espionage and using false documents.

He is an expert on organized crime and money laundering.

The United States protested his detention and raised concerns about his health in custody.

Zeltser's attorney says he is not getting proper medication for diabetes.

Relations between Belarus and the U.S. are poor.

Washington has imposed sanctions on Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko and other top officials in protest of the Belarusian government's repression of opposition parties.

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