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Belarusian Leader Sacks Prosecutors For Corruption

President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
MINSK (Reuters) -- Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka sacked two senior prosecutors on November 13 and vowed more heads would roll in a crackdown on corruption.

Lukashenka, quoted by the official BELTA news agency, ordered the dismissal of the deputy prosecutor-general and the prosecutor in Minsk region and called for criminal charges to be drawn up against them.

"Within the context of the criminal investigation, let all aspects be examined, including moral issues," BELTA quoted Lukashenka as telling a meeting of officials devoted to an anticorruption campaign.

He said that by the end of the month two deputy interior ministers in the ex-Soviet state would be sacked in connection with illegal acquisition of land near Minsk, the capital.

Belarus, like all ex-Soviet states, grapples with bribe-taking and other corrupt practices within a variety of state institutions.

Lukashenka was swept to power in a 1994 election on pledges to do away with top-level corruption. He has periodically dismissed senior officials amid charges that they committed economic crimes, though the number of such sackings has declined in recent years.

The most recent high-profile case was the jailing last March for five years of the ex-head of oil products company Belneftekhim, Alyaksandr Borovsky, on charges of abuse of office.

Lukashenka has been accused by Western countries of crushing fundamental human rights since the mid-1990s, but has sought improved relations with the West for more than a year.

The European Union last month lifted an entry ban on him after courts released the last inmates deemed political prisoners. But a September parliamentary election was deemed by Western observers to have fallen short of minimum standards.