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Belarus: Police Reportedly Arrest Opposition Activist

Minsk, 20 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - The wife and a political associate of a Belarusian opposition activist said today he was arrested by police shortly before midnight.

The wife of Lyavon Borshchevsky, acting chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front, said the police officers did not provide any explanation for the arrest.

Yuri Khadyko, deputy chairman of the Popular Front, said the arrest appeared linked to a court secision last March to sentence Borshchevsky to five days in prison for organising an unsanctioned rally. Borshchevsky was not present at the trial and has not served the sentence.

Speaking on conditions of anonymity, a spokesman for a jail near Minsk confirmed that Borshchevsky had been imprisoned. Police however declined to either confirm the arrest or comment on the case.

Borshchevsky was arrested on the eve of a Popular Front congress, scheduled for tomorrow. Zianon Paznyak, the Popular Front chairman, who is in exile, strongly condemned the arrest and said it was timed to prevent the congress from being held.

Many oppposition activists in Belarus have been sentenced to prison terms and fines for taking part or organising rallies against the policies of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.