OSCE Observers to Monitor Belarusian Trials

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe says it is sending a team of observers to Belarus to monitor the trials of those arrested during protests that followed the December 19 presidential election.

The observers will assess the trials to see whether they are consistent with Belarusian law and OSCE standards of fairness. The OSCE says as a participating member, Belarus is committed to accepting the monitors' presence.

Belarusian police arrested hundreds of people, including a number of opposition leaders and presidential candidates, in the violence that followed the December election. President Alexander Lukashenko won a fourth term by a landslide in a vote the opposition says was rigged.

European election monitors called the vote counting "very bad" and the OSCE proclaimed the election a failure.

Belarus closed down the OSCE office in Minsk because of the organization's criticism of the election.


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