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Belarusian Opposition Leader Statkevich Detained For Sixth Time In 2017


Mikalay Statkevich attends a rally to commemorate victims of Stalin's political repressions outside KGB headquarters in Minsk on October 29.

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 on his way home in Minsk late on October 30. She said the authorities had not told her why he was detained or where he was being held.

Statkevich's detainment came a day after he took part in a rally in front of Belarusian KGB headquarters to commemorate victims of the Soviet government.

It also came a day before he had been scheduled to travel to Kyiv, where he was expected to speak at the session of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly -- a forum linking the European Parliament and the parliaments of Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia that was established to promote closer political and economic ties.

Statkevich has now been detained six times since January 2017, and has spent 34 days in jail in the last 10 months.

Statkevich ran against Belarus's authoritarian president, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, in the 2010 presidential election.

Lukashenka, in office since 1994, was reelected in a vote that his critics say was rigged.

Statkevich was arrested after attending a large demonstration protesting the election results, and spent five years in prison after being convicted of organizing riots at a trial criticized by human rights groups and Western governments.

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