31 protesters face charges in Belarus

Belarusian police accused 31 people of involving in Minsk mass protests after the presidential elections in December, a local official has said.

With the help of video recording, the police said more than 120 people joined mass protests, said Alexander Lastovsky, head of the Department of Information and Public Relations of Minsk Internal Affairs Office.

Some protesters were "indicted on criminal charges of rioting," the official said.

During December 19-20, more than 630 people were detained in Minsk after voting ended. The majority of them have served administrative detention from 10 to 15 days.

Four former presidential candidates, Andrei Sannikov, Vladimir Nyaklyaeu, Nikolai Statkevich and Ales Mikhalevich, were also arrested on charges of rioting during the elections. They could face up to 15 years of imprisonment if convicted.

In a statement issued on Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the Belarusian authorities to release those arrested for joining the December protest in Minsk.


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