The nine arrived back in Georgia today, three days after they were detained. The group, all of whose members are members of the Georgian parliament, was part of an election-observer mission organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who is seeking a third term, has accused foreign governments of plotting to destabilize the country by planning protests similar to Georgia's Rose Revolution and Ukraine's Orange Revolution.
Belarusian students studying at an EU-funded university in Vilnius, Lithuania
WATCHING AND WAITING: The European Union repeatedly urged Minsk to conduct a fair and democratic presidential election on March 19. The EU external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said in a statement today that the recent arrests of Belarusian opposition figures are "unacceptable" campaign violations. Ferrero-Waldner repeated an EU threat of "targeted sanctions" against top Belarusian officials if the elections are not free and fair. However, the EU will withhold final judgment until March 20, when the bloc's foreign ministers meet in Brussels....(more)
MEET THE CANDIDATES: Read brief biographies of the four candidates in the March 19 election.