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Jailed Belarus Opposition Leader Denied Presidential Bid

Belarusian opposition leader Mikalay Statkevich (right) with his wife, Maryna Adamovich
Belarusian opposition leader Mikalay Statkevich (right) with his wife, Maryna Adamovich

Belarusian election officials have refused to allow a former presidential candidate to run in the upcoming October 11 presidential election.

Election officials on July 20 denied the registration of a nominating group for Mikolay Statkevich because he is in prison.

Statkevich is serving a six-year prison sentence for what a Belarusian court said was plotting riots after the December 2010 presidential election.

Angry demonstrators alleged electoral fraud and conducted mass protests in Minsk after election officials announced that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka had won 80 percent of the vote.

Statkevich denies organizing riots, saying the charge is politically motivated.

Statkevich's wife, Maryna Adamovich, told RFE/RL on July 20 that the denial of registration would be appealed to the Supreme Court.

On July 20, Belarus's Central Election Commission registered five nomination groups -- raising to eight the number of groups allowed to try to field a candidate.

To register a candidate, a nomination group must gather signatures from 100,000 eligible voters.

With reporting by AP and Belapan
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