Minsk: Some Released, Top Candidates Still Behind Bars

Belarusian authorities have released about 150 opposition activists from pretrial detention on January 3, ERR correspondent reports from Belarus.

Those released included activists arrested in the wake of the presidential elections and given 15-day administrative sentences. Most of the presidential candidates - Andrei Sannikav, Uladzimir Nehlyayev, Aless Mihalevich and Mikal Statkevich - will remain behind bars for at least six more weeks, as they face criminal charges. Only Vital Rymashevsky was released and forbidden from leaving the country, Ekho Moskvy reported.

Those who remain behind bars and face the possibility of a 15-year sentence are Sannikav's wife, Novaya Gazeta journalist Iryna Halip, Nehlyayev's ally Alyaksandr Feduta and the head of the United Citizens' Party Anatol Lebedko.

The demonstration of December 19 saw about 10,000 opposition supporters protest the results of the presidential elections on the streets of Minsk. Internal security forces made about 600 arrests, most of whom were fined. Several of the presidential candidates were reportedly beaten prior to their arrest.


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