Detention of 2 concerns Russian officials

MINSK, Belarus, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Officials at the Russian Embassy in Minsk, Belarus, say the want to know why two alleged Russian protesters have been held for a month without evidence.

The two allegedly took part in unsanctioned protests over election results giving Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko a fourth term in office, RIA Novosti reported.

"It is completely unclear why the Russians have to stay in prison facing unsubstantiated charges while some former presidential candidates have been let out on a plea not to leave the country," embassy spokesman Vadim Gusev said.

Ivan Gaponov and Artem Breus could spend up to 15 years in jail for protesting the election.

More than 600 people, including 11 Russians, were detained in the Dec. 19 protests. Protesters alleged the election was rigged.

Gusev said attorneys for the two men have filed an appeal.


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