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Belarus Jails Opposition Leader Ahead Of Planned Protests

Belarusian opposition leader Mikalay Statkevich (file photo)
Belarusian opposition leader Mikalay Statkevich (file photo)

The wife of Belarusian opposition leader Mikalay Statkevich says he has been arrested ahead of planned antigovernment protests.

Marina Adamovich said on April 30 that police informed her the previous day that Statkevich had been jailed for five days. She didn’t say what was the reason for her husband’s arrest.

An unusually widespread wave of antigovernment protests broke out in Belarus this year with another rally planned for May 1 in the capital, Minsk.

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

Statkevich was arrested after a large demonstration protesting the election results. He spent five years in prison.

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

Statkevich had been set to co-lead the rally on March 25. Instead, Statkevich said, he was detained by officers of the KGB security service and taken to a detention center, where he was questioned and told that he faced charges that he had been plotting terrorist attacks across Belarus since 2011.He was released three days later.

With reporting by AP and RFE/RL's Belarus Service
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