Belarus journalist says police beat him; gets fined

A journalist for an independent Belarusian news website who says he was beaten by police while covering a trial of opposition activists has been fined for failing to obey lawful orders.

Pavel Dobrovolsky says he was trying to record video Monday of protesters who unfurled a banner at the trial when police seized him. He says they took his camera and journalist accreditation and beat him for about 20 minutes. His website, , showed photos of him with bruises to his pelvis.

Minsk police on Tuesday issued a statement saying that Dobrovolsky did not obey a directive to leave the courtroom and "physical force was used against him in connection with this."

Dobrovolsky was fined the equivalent of $500.

Independent journalism is tightly restricted in the former Soviet nation.