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Media Groups Urge Belarus To Free Journalists

Media freedom groups have urged Belarus to release dozens of journalists believed to remain in custody more than two weeks after a violent crackdown on opposition demonstrators protesting the reelection of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

The International Press Institute and its affiliated South and East Europe Media Organization voiced "alarm" at the arrests and jail sentences handed down to journalists.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) estimates at least 22 journalists are still behind bars since the December 19 crackdown.

More than 600 people were rounded up amid the postelection protests, including five presidential candidates.

The CPJ said it was concerned about reported government efforts to seize the 3-year-old son of journalist Irina Khalip and former opposition candidate Andrey Sannikau, both of whom are in detention, from his grandparents.

compiled from RFE/RL and agency reports