(Prague, Czech Republic) RFE organized an exclusive conference call discussion on March with former Belarusian presidential candidate Ales Mikhalevich.
Mikhalevich was arrested in Minsk on December 19 -- the day of the disputed election that returned Alyaksandr Lukashenka to power -- and spent two months in a Belarusian prison. Eventually placed under house arrest by the KGB, Mikhalevich managed to escape Belarus and was granted political asylum in the Czech Republic. He offered a first-hand account of his imprisonment and the ongoing crackdown on political opposition in Belarus.
In an RFE exclusive
, Mikhalevich said Alexander Lukashenka is "doing a lot to help the opposition unify" in Belarus. "Even people like me, who are ready to work with the government, are being driven into open, radical opposition. So I think that precisely after December 19, after that night of mass arrests and cracked heads, unifying will be much more likely."