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Three Russian human rights observers attending the trials of opposition activists in Belarus have been expelled from the country.

The Committee on International Control over the Human Rights Situation in Belarus said its three representatives at the trials -- Lyubov Zakharova, Yekaterina Korosteleva and Irina Paykacheva -- were arrested in Minsk on the night of May 6. They were ordered to leave the country within 24 hours.

The three women had been monitoring the trials in Minsk of about 16 opposition activists who took part in mass street protests on December 19 against the re-election of President Alyaksander Lukashenka.

The human rights organization said the women had been told that their presence in Belarus was either forbidden or unwanted.

The Belarusian interior ministry has made no comment on the matter.

compiled from agency reports
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