Two journalists imprisoned after Belarus coverage

A court in Belarus has sentenced two journalists to two years in prison, after they filmed live coverage of the protests against President Alexander Lukashenko for a news channel based in Poland.

Katsiaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova are Belarus nationals who worked for Belsat. They were arrested at an apartment in November from where they had been the filming protests taking place over the death of a protester who was killed several days earlier.

Their detention has been condemned by international human rights organizations.

The two journalists appeared in a cage at the hearing on Thursday, making "V" for victory signs. Both pleaded not guilty after being accused of orchestrating the demonstrations by filming them.

Mobile phones, microphones, video cameras, and flash drives were all presented as evidence by the prosecution.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has called the charges "absurd" and said they should be dropped immediately.

More than 33,000 people have been detained after protests against Lukashenko's rule following an election last August that opponents say was rigged to keep him in power.