THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
VIENNA - The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe says it will be sending observers to Belarus to monitor the trials of those charged in the aftermath of the country's disputed elections last year.
More than 700 people, including seven presidential candidates, were arrested during protests over the result of the Dec. 19 poll, in which authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko was declared the overwhelming winner. The OSCE described the vote count as flawed.
The OSCE said in a statement Monday that an initial team of four observers is expected to arrive Wednesday to "assess the trials for their consistency with national law and fair trial standards."
The announcement is significant because Belarus refused to extend the mandate of the OSCE's Belarusian office on Dec. 31 following the group's election criticism.