Belarusian KGB sweeps activists' homes

The wife of a jailed former presidential candidate in Belarus says government intelligence agents searched her apartment Friday in a move to prevent her from meeting a visiting U.S. dignitary, according to reports.

Volha Nyaklyaeva, wife of jailed Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that three KGB officers stopped her as she was leaving her apartment block on her way to meet visiting U.S. Senator Richard Durbin. The KGB officers apparently showed her a search warrant dated Jan. 3.

Nyaklyaeva said the search was brief, as the couple's apartment has only two rooms and authorities had already removed many objects from the home.

"We do not have computers or any other information and database carriers, as the police confiscated everything in May," Nyaklyaeva told RFE/RL. The KGB officers looked through all the books written by her husband, a well-known poet in Belarus, she said.

Nyaklyaeva said the three KGB officers were polite.

KGB officers also reportedly conducted a search on the apartment of Syarhey Klyueu, an opposition activist and coordinator of the "Tell the Truth" campaign. The officers said the search was in done conjunction with investigations into the "mass disorder" of Dec. 19 when thousands rallied in a central Minsk square after polls closed in order to protest official election results that gave incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka an overwhelming victory.

The KGB also reportedly summoned Alina Suravets, deputy chairwoman of the Association of Belarusian Journalists, or BAZ, for questioning on Jan. 14.

A day earlier, KGB officers interrogated BAZ Chairwoman Zhanna Litvina, and on Jan. 12 BAZ Deputy Chairman Andrey Bastunets was summoned for questioning.

Former presidential candidates Ales Mikhalevich, Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu, Andrey Sannikau, and Mikalay Statkevich, who were arrested Dec. 19 on charges of organizing mass disorder still remain in custody.

Since Jan. 1, only Mikhalevich's lawyer has been allowed to see his client.

Nyaklyaeu and Sannikau were both allegedly beaten before being arrested and have not yet recovered from their injuries.


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