Accused of slandering Byelorussian President Alexander Lukashenko, the journalists of the opposition newspaper Pagonya - Nikolai Markevich and Pavel Mozheiko - have been sentenced by the city court of the Byelorussian regional centre of Grodno to a "limited freedom" for a term of two and a half and two years respectively. The journalists pleaded not guilty.
The article timed for the presidential elections in September 2002 was used as a material evidence at the trial. But it was never published because the entire circulation of the newspaper Pagonya was arrested and the newspaper itself closed. At the present time, the newspaper can be found in the Internet where, according to the data of the prosecution, the article, insulting the President, has appeared.