Belarus publisher Aleksandr Sdvizhkov has been sentenced to 3 years hard labor for republishing the infamous Muhammad cartoons. That may be a death sentence. He is currently being denied any communications.
This in a Christian country. Who do they come for next?
Vitaly Taras, a member of the Union of Belarusian Writers, said in an interview that Sdvizhkov's punishment was excessive. "The case demonstrates to the whole world that European values, including the freedom of speech, have little value in Belarus," Taras said.
The population of Belarus, formerly a Soviet republic, is overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian; only about 3 percent of the 9 million residents are Muslim. [Belarusian President Aleksandr] Lukashenko's oppressive, Soviet-style government has a history of quashing independent media, and it has close ties to Iran.
"The authorities suddenly became very worried about the feelings of Belarusian Muslims," said Aleksandr Klaskovsky, a Minsk-based independent political analyst with Belarusian News. "Prior to the scandal, Belarusian authorities told everyone who would listen that Belarus was a Slavic, Russian Orthodox country, ignoring the country's true multicultural and religious reality."