Europe

Belarus court rules against AP reporter for Chernobyl story

FILE - In this Monday, April 11, 2016, file photo, a radiation warning sign stands near a checkpoint in an exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, southeast of Minsk, Belarus. A Belarus court on Thursday Dec. 22, 2016 ruled against an Associated Press correspondent in a lawsuit by a dairy company that claimed an AP article about farming on fallout-damaged land hurt its reputation. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits, File)

FILE - In this Monday, April 11, 2016, file photo, a radiation warning sign stands near a checkpoint in an exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, southeast of Minsk, Belarus. A Belarus court on Thursday Dec. 22, 2016 ruled against an Associated Press correspondent in a lawsuit by a dairy company that claimed an AP article about farming on fallout-damaged land hurt its reputation. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits, File)  (The Associated Press)

A court in the former Soviet republic of Belarus has ruled against an Associated Press correspondent in a lawsuit by a dairy company that claimed an AP article damaged its reputation. AP says it stands by the reporting and will seek to overturn the ruling on appeal.

The lawsuit refers to an April article about farmers using land contaminated by fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The article said tests by a Belarusian state laboratory on a sample of milk from a dairy farm showed 10 times the accepted level of a radioactive isotope.

On Thursday, Judge Tatyana Sapega ruled against the reporter, Minsk-based Yuras Karmanau, and ordered him to pay court costs.

AP said: "the court's refusal to consider key evidence in support of Mr. Karmanau raises serious concerns."