Belarus releases detained election candidate

MINSK (Reuters) - Belarus has released from detention one of the five opposition presidential candidates charged with organising mass disorder on the night of last month's presidential election, his party said on Monday.

Vitaly Rymashevsky, leader of the Christian Democratic Party, was one of 22 opposition activists, including five presidential candidates, charged with disorder in connection with the December 19 vote, which gave Alexander Lukashenko a fourth term in office.

Minsk saw large scale protests against the conduct of the vote, which Europe's top rights watchdog said was "flawed." Western leaders accuse Lukashenko, 56, of dictatorial rule and suppressing independent media.

"Rymashevsky was released by the KGB (state security service)... He submitted a written explanation to Lukashenko," the Christian Democratic Party said in a statement, without giving details.

Last week Belarus halted operations of The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in its country, following the watchdog's sharp criticism of the election.

The OSCE has since called on Belarus to review its decision, saying it still had "an important job to continue" in the country.

(Reporting by Andrey Makhovsky, writing by Amie Ferris-Rotman; editing by Noah Barkin)


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