CR grants asylum to Belarusian dissident Mikhalevich

Prague, March 24 (CTK) - The Czech Interior Ministry has confirmed that Ales Mikhalevich, Belarusian opposition candidate for president who left Belarus, was granted asylum in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, Czech authorities told CTK yesterday.

Mikhalevich was imprisoned for two months in Minsk after the mass protests against the results of the late 2010 presidential elections about which the opposition said they had been rigged in favour of President Alexander Lukashenko.

Mikhalevich complained about having been maltreated in prison.

Belarussian authorities prosecute him as well as the other six opposition candidates for president over organising the riots.

Mikhalevich was released from prison last month and was banned from leaving Belarus. On March 14, his wife announced that her husband had left the country.

Mikhalevich's request for political protection was supported by Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg earlier.

The Czech Republic is a tough opponent of Lukashenko's regime, supporting Belarusian opposition's effort at introducing democracy in the country.

Prague maintains contacts with representatives of the Belarusian public and human rights advocates.

The Belorusian private news agency BelaPAN has said Belarusian general prosecutor is likely to ask the Czech Republic for Mikhalevich's extradition.

Mikhalevich's wife and two children have stayed in Minsk.

A total of 56 Belarussians asked for asylum in the Czech Republic as of October 1, 2010.


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