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Belarusian Opposition Leader Detained

Alyaksandr Milinkevich pictured during a previous detention, in April 2006 ( November 29, 2006 -- Belarusian opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich was briefly detained at the Minsk airport today after returning from a NATO summit in Latvia where he met with U.S. President George W. Bush.

Milinkevich spokesman Pavel Mazheyka says Milinkevich was held a few hours and later released.

MORE: Coverage in Belarusian from RFE/RL's Belarus Service.

He has been charged with leaving the country without proper documents and faces a possible fine.

Milinkevich is a leading opposition figure who ran against Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in a March presidential election.

Speaking in Riga on November 28, Bush said Lukashenka's government "offends the conscience" of Europe and the United States.

Western governments have characterized Lukashenka -- who is regularly criticized for rights abuses -- as the last dictator in Europe.

(Interfax, AFP, AP)

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