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Belarusian Opposition Candidate Investigated

Alyaksandr Kazulin (file photo) (RFE/RL) March 3, 2006 -- Prosecutors in Belarus today said they have opened a criminal investigation against an opposition candidate who is challenging President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's bid for reelection on March 19.

Alyaksandr Kazulin, who was beaten and briefly detained by state security agents on March 2, is accused of smashing a portrait of Lukashenka while in detention at a police station.

He is also accused of trying to stage an unsanctioned news conference.

Earlier today, the European Union's Austrian presidency expressed deep concern over Kazulin's arrest.

In a written statement issued in Vienna today, the EU urged Belarus to guarantee the personal safety of all those taking part in the March 19 election.

(Reuters, AP)

Belarus Votes 2006

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.

Click on the image to view RFE/RL's coverage of the election campaign in Belarusian and to listen to RFE/RL's Belarusian Service.