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Protesters in Minsk last fall displayed pictures of people who have been killed or gone missing during President Lukashenka's rule (CTK) 27 February 2006 -- U.S. President George W. Bush today highlighted concerns about political repression in Belarus by meeting the wives of a disappeared Belarusian businessman and a journalist.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush's aim was "to underscore his personal support for the [wives'] efforts to seek justice for the disappeared, as well as for all those who seek to return freedom to Belarus.

Bush joined a meeting of his national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, with Iryna Krasouskaya and Svyatlana Zavadskaya.

Anatol Krasouski, a businessman who had criticized Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, vanished without trace in September 1999.

Dzmitry Zavadski, a cameraman in Minsk for Russian broadcaster ORT, disappeared on his way to pick up his colleague Pavel Sheremet from the Minsk airport on 7 July 2000.

McClellan said the United States believes that the Belarus authorities are to blame for the two men's disappearance.


Belarus Votes 2006

Click on the image to view a dedicated page with news, analysis, and background information about the Belarusian presidential ballot.

MEET THE CANDIDATES: Read brief biographies of the four candidates in the March 19 election.

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