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Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has sacked his interior minister, who has overseen the crackdown by security forces on political dissent since Lukashenka's disputed reelection to a fourth term in December 2010.

Lukashenka's press service said that Anatoly Kulyashou had been replaced as interior minister by his deputy, Ihor Shunevich.

No reason was given for the dismissal of Kuleshov, who has served as interior minister since 2009.

Kulyashou is among the Belarusian officials who has been sanctioned with a European Union travel ban blocking him from traveling to EU states.

The sanctions were imposed to punish the Lukashenka regime for its widespread human rights abuses.

However, in apparent defiance of the ban, Kulyashou was permitted to travel to Lyon, France, in January to participate in a meeting of the international police organization Interpol.

Based on reporting by Interfax and Reuters