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Police Seize Copies Of Independent Belarusian Daily

8 April 2004 -- The publisher of the daily "Den" in Belarus has said police seized nearly 5,000 copies of the newspaper because of its independent stance.

Publisher Mikola Markevich said the seizure last night in Ivye, north of the capital Minsk, is "just another demonstration of the pitiful state of freedom of speech in Belarus."

Local police chief Vladimir Alesyuk declined to comment on the reason for the seizure.

The newspaper staff includes journalists previously sentenced for criticizing President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. For more than a year, "Den" has been printed in Russia and then delivered to Belarus, after local publishers refused to print it.