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Belarusian Opposition Leader Statkevich Detained Again


Belarusian opposition leader Mikalay Statkevich delivers a speech during a protest rally on Belarusian Independence Day in Minsk on July 3.

MINSK -- Prominent Belarusian opposition leader and former presidential candidate Mikalay Statkevich has been detained in Minsk, his wife says.

Maryna Adamovich told RFE/RL that her husband was detained in Minsk on September 22, when they were leaving the offices of an independent trade union. It is not clear why the politician was detained.

Statkevich's detainment comes just three weeks after he was freed from jail after serving a five-day term he received for taking part in an unsanctioned protest gathering in Minsk in March.

He was also sentenced to 15 days in jail for attending another unsanctioned rally in Minsk that took place on July 3, but officials had not forced him to serve that term.

Statkevich ran against Belarus’s authoritarian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in the 2010 presidential election. Lukashenka, in office since 1994, was reelected in the vote, which his critics say was rigged.

Statkevich was arrested after attending a large demonstration protesting the election results. He spent five years in prison for what authorities said the "organization of mass disturbance."

In March, Statkevich said he was briefly imprisoned ahead of an annual Freedom Day rally that was met with police crackdown.

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