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Belarus: Ukrainians Charged With Disturbing Order

Minsk, 22 August 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Seven Ukrainian nationalists were charged yesterday with disturbing order during an anti-government rally marking the tenth anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

The seven men have been in jail since their arrest after the rally on April 26. As the trial opened yesterday in a Minsk district court, Judge Pavel Korsunovich approved a state prosecutor motion that the case should be taken to Minsk's higher court. Defense attorney Nadezhda Dudareva said the ruling was a pretext to delay the trial and keep the seven in jail.

Demonstrators at the April 26 Chernobyl rally accused Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka of failing to help Chernobyl victims. The rally soon turned into a major anti-government manifestation, ending in clashes with the police.

Dozens of demonstrators were arrested, among them the seven Ukrainians, who are members of the UNA-UNSO, an extreme Ukrainian nationalist group.