Belarus frees jailed opposition leader

MINSK, Belarus, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Belarusian authorities have freed an opposition presidential candidate jailed for taking part in an unsanctioned election protest, his party said Monday.

Vitaly Rymashevsky was freed Saturday on his own recognizance, provided he not leave the country, the Web site of his Belarusian Christian Democrat Party said.

"Rymashevsky wrote a letter of explanation to [President Alexander] Lukashenko. After that he was released," RIA Novosti quoted the site saying.

Rymashevsky, 35, was one of six presidential candidates arrested in Minsk Dec. 19 at a demonstration protesting alleged election fraud. Lukashenko won his fourth term in a landslide.

The Prosecutor General's Office said Monday all the candidates still in custody are healthy. It said they were examined after relatives complained of mistreatment.

Belarus plans to release about 150 people detained after the unsanctioned rally. Of more than 630 people arrested, about 400 have been freed already. More than 20 people were charged with organizing riots, ITAR-Tass reported.


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