Jailed Belarus opposition leader wins European rights prize

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Council of Europe has awarded its human rights prize to jailed Belarus opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova. She was arrested last year after she tore up her passport to prevent her forced expulsion. Earlier this month, a court in Minsk found her guilty of conspiring to seize power and creating an extremist organization. She was sentenced to 11 years in prison. At a ceremony Monday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe awarded her its Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize. The 60,000-euro ($70,160) award honors outstanding civil society action in the defense of human rights. Assembly President Rik Daems says in standing up to the Lukashenko regime Kolesnikova “has shown true courage.”