MINSK (Reuters) - A Minsk court on Wednesday sentenced Belarusian basketball player Yelena Levchenko to 15 days in jail for taking part in protests demanding the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko.
Belarus has seen weeks of mass demonstrations since veteran leader Lukashenko was declared the landslide winner of an Aug. 9 presidential election that his opponents say was rigged.
Levchenko, a player on the women's national team and a championship winner in the Russian, Lithuanian and Polish leagues, is one of the founding members of a movement among athletes calling for new presidential elections.
She was detained on Wednesday morning at Minsk airport as she was about to fly out for planned medical treatment abroad.
The authorities have arrested thousands of people, and all major opposition leaders are now jailed or in exile.
The Belarusian Foundation for Sports Solidarity on Wednesday called on athletes to boycott competitions after Levchenko's arrest, while Minsk handball club Vityaz refused to host a scheduled Belarusian championship match in protest.
(Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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