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Belarusian Rights Movement Undaunted Despite Arrests

Uladzimier Nyaklyayeu (file photo)

Uladzimier Nyaklyayeu (file photo)

A group of Belarusian rights activists say they will not be intimidated after raids by security forces last week resulted in the arrests of members of their movement, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

The Tell the Truth movement's chairman, Uladzimer Nyaklyayeu, and two other activists spent three days in jail last week following nationwide raids on movement offices and members' homes.

Nyaklyayeu said on May 24 that he and his two colleagues remained suspects in what the authorities are calling a case of "dissemination of false information about goods and services."

He said the raids were part of an intimidation effort to prevent the campaign from carrying on its work of informing the Belarusian people about societal ills and what they allege are lies by the government.

"We will continue to tell the truth about the social situation, about the state of the Belarusian language, even what is going on with narcotics," Nyaklyayeu said. "In my three days in jail I saw how many youths were brought in on narcotics charges.... But publicly the authorities say there are no major problems [with drug use]."

Nyaklyayeu, who is the former chairman of the Union of Belarusian Writers, said he would not rule out the possibility that someone from the Tell the Truth movement could run for president. The next election is likely to be held at the end of this year or early next year.

He said he would not necessarily be that candidate.

Nyaklyayeu, 63, said that as part of the Tell the Truth campaign, volunteers across the country will collect "false" information reported by the authorities. The group's findings are posted on the website