Join RFE on Thursday, March 30 at 11:00AM Eastern Time for an exclusive conference call with former Belarusian presidential candidate Ales Mikhalevich.
Space on the call is limited. To RSVP and secure the access number for this conference call, contact Martins Zvaners (email@example.com) or Zach Peterson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Mikhalevich was arrested in Minsk on December 19 -- the day of the disputed election that returned Alyaksandr Lukashenka to power -- and spent two months in a Belarusian prison. Eventually placed under house arrest by the KGB, Mikhalevich managed to escape Belarus and was granted political asylum in the Czech Republic. He will offer a first-hand account of his imprisonment and the ongoing crackdown on political opposition in Belarus.
In an RFE exclusive, Mikhalevich says Alexander Lukashenka is "doing a lot to help the opposition unify" in Belarus. "Even people like me, who are ready to work with the government, are being driven into open, radical opposition. So I think that precisely after December 19, after that night of mass arrests and cracked heads, unifying will be much more likely."
Now that he is in the Czech Republic, Mikhalevich says he plans to be more of a "political activist" who will work with international organizations on the issue of torture in Belarus. According to the Belarusian news agency Belapan, the country's top prosecutor is likely to ask the Czech Republic to extradite Mikhalevich.
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