Prague says Belarus opposition figure seeks political asylum

Prague - Belarusian opposition politician Ales Michalevitch has fled to the Czech Republic and is seeking political asylum, Prague told the German Press Agency dpa Friday.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said that Michalevitch, 36, had applied to Prague for political asylum, in remarks coming after Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg had told the newspaper Pravo that Prague would provide protection for him.

'He stands for the same values as we do,' Schwarzenberg said of the sharp critic of Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko. 'I admire his steadfastness.'

It was unclear how Michalevitch, who faced a long prison term for participating in an anti-Lukashenko demonstration, managed to escape Belarus.

With Minsk having confiscated his passport and prohibiting him from travelling abroad, it was suggested in Prague media reports that Michalevitch had arrived by car bearing diplomatic license plates.

Most recently, Michalevitch stirred controversy comparing his last stay in a former KGB prison as being in 'concentration camp.'


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