Britain says jailing of Belarus protest leaders shows Lukashenko's pariah status

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Belarusian opposition figures Maria Kolesnikova and Maxim Znak attend a court hearing in Minsk
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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain on Monday said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was assaulting the defenders of freedom by jailing two opposition figures.

Protest leaders Maria Kolesnikova and Maxim Znak were sentenced to 11 years and 10 years in prison.

"The sentencing of Maria Kolesnikova and Maksim Znak shows the Belarusian authorities continuing their assault on the defenders of democracy and freedom," Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

"Locking up political opponents will only deepen the pariah status of the Lukashenko regime."

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden)

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