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Artur Finkevich after his release in February
Belarusian youth activist Artur Finkevich has told RFE/RL's Belarus Service that he was beaten for three hours during his kidnapping by unknown assailants on December 19.

Finkevich is a member of Young Belarus, a group closely tied to opposition parties mobilizing for the country's 2011 presidential election.

After being robbed and beaten, Finkevich was found abandoned outside the capital, Minsk, with his hands tied behind his back.

Police are looking into the incident, which they say had nothing to do with Finkevich's political activities.

In May 2006, Finkevich was sentenced to two years under a "restricted freedom" regime for writing political graffiti. In late 2007, he had his sentence extended by another 18 months for violating the rules of his correctional facility.

On February 5 of this year, the court considered Finkevich's appeal, unexpectedly shortened his second term to six months, and released him.
Franak Vyachorko in a 2005 photo
Belarusian opposition leader Franak Vyachorka has gone missing after being detained by the police today, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Vyachorka, an active member of Belarusian Popular Front's youth movement, managed a call to colleagues explaining that he was being forced into a police car.

Vyachroka has been detained and tried in court for his political activities in the past.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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