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Belarusian Journalist Charged With Treason, Espionage

Relatives of Belarusian journalist and military expert Alyaksandr Alesin say he has been charged with high treason and espionage.

Alesin's relatives told RFE/RL late on December 8 that authorities told them Alesin had been detained on November 26 or 27 while meeting at a Minsk cafe with a foreign diplomat who had classified documents.

They were told Alesin is suspected of handing the classified documents to the diplomat, whose nationality was not revealed.

If convicted, Alesin faces up to 15 years of jail. He is currently in the KGB pretrial detention center in Minsk.

His relatives have not been allowed to see him since his arrest.

Alesin is a leading military expert whose comments often contradict government positions.

Alesin recently said Belarus should reform its army in light of the crisis in Ukraine.

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