Belarus opposition activist complains of 'prostitute' smear

Kiev/Minsk - An opponent of Belarus' authoritarian government on Thursday claimed police had jailed his daughter on false allegations of prostitution and human trafficking, the Belapan news agency reported.

Aleksander Protsko is an active member of Za Svobodu (For Freedom), a Belarusian civic group opposed to the strong-man regime of President Aleksander Lukashenko.

Protsko said his daughter had been travelling to Ukraine with two friends on August 18 when Belarusian border police detained her citing her possible work as a prostitute abroad, or potential activities as a human trafficker.

The younger Protsko, whose first name was not made public, is a 26-year-old woman with a university education and a stable income, and allegations she might be working as a prostitute or a human trafficker are "ridiculous" and "trumped up," her father said, in a letter to a Gomel province prosecutor.

Despite having been held by police for three weeks, no formal charges have been filed against her, proving the detention was a state retaliation for her father's open opposition to the Belarusian regime, Protsko said.

The two other passengers in the automobile, were like his daughter both young women and holding plane tickets to a scheduled seaside holiday in Turkey, but the pair was not detained by police, demonstrating law enforcers had singled out his daughter, Protsko said.

He in recent months has been repeatedly fined, and arrested once, for handing out anti-Lukashenko leaflets, publicly claiming recent by-elections in the central Belarusian city Gomel were fraudulent, and demonstrating in favour an alternate government to the Lukashenko regime - all illegal activities in Belarus.

Lukshenko, a former collective farm boss, in recent month has increased pressure on Belarus' embattled opposition, cracking down on anti-government web sites.

Opposition leaders linked the crack downs to 2011 presidential election in Belarus, and Lukashenko's desire to eliminate all critics before the vote.


Partners: Social Network