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Trial Of Accused Killer Cop Begins In Belarus

(RFE/RL) MINSK, February 20, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The murder trial of a senior Belarusian police lieutenant has begun in the city of Hrodna, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Police Lieutenant Alyaksandr Syarheychyk is accused of committing 12 murders between 2000 and 2005, including 11 young girls.

Police officer Ryshard Daminyuk, who worked with Syarheychyk, told RFE/RL that there were few signs anything was wrong.

"I can't say that he behaved badly, but of course there was some antipathy toward him," Daminyuk said. "The others got along well. He kept to himself. To be honest, I didn't develop any relationship with him."

Syarheychyk was arrested earlier this year in Hrodna, in western Belarus near the Polish border. He was initially suspected in just one murder.

Psychologists have declared him competent to stand trial.

Prosecutors plan to call more than 100 witnesses.

The trial is closed to the press and public.