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Belarusian Activists Continue Hunger Strike

The hunger strikers
The hunger strikers
MINSK -- Supporters of three jailed businessmen from the Belarusian city of Vaukavysk are still on a hunger strike they began 10 days ago, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

The five Youth Front activists -- Nastya Palazhanka, Artsem Dubsky, Mykola Dzemidzenka, Yauhen Skrabets, and Iryna Gubskaya -- are in the headquarters of the opposition Belarusian Popular Front party in Minsk.

They demand that Mikalay Autukhovich, Yury Lyavonau, and Uladzimir Asipenka, who are accused of arson, be released. The men deny the charges, saying they're politically motivated.

Autukhovich sent a letter from jail to the activists expressing his thanks for their support and urging them to stop the hunger strike, as he was very concerned for their heath, especially that of the young women.

Opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich, who visited the hunger strikers, told RFE/RL that they have already done a lot to attract the country's attention to the ordeal faced by the three businessmen, adding that it would be great if they stopped the hunger strike.