MINSK -- An opposition leader in Belarus says he was beaten and harassed while being detained on charges of violating a law on public gatherings.
Anatol Lyabedzka, the chairman of the United Civic Party, told journalists on January 13 that seven unknown men detained him near his house the previous day, beat him, and then took him to police, where he was charged with the "unsanctioned" collection of signatures against new taxes on cars earlier this month.
Before releasing him, Lyabedzka said, the men first drove him to the mass grave of victims of a Stalin-era purge in Kurapaty, near Minsk, and then to a city crematorium.
He said it was an attempt to intimidate him.
Lyabedzka's trial is scheduled for January 14.
If found guilty, Lyabedzska faces a fine or several days in jail.