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Belarus Releases Trade Union Bookkeeper Charged With Tax Evasion

Ihar Komlik

MINSK -- The bookkeeper of an independent trade union in Belarus, Ihar Komlik, who was charged with tax evasion in a case he calls politically motivated, has been released from pretrial detention.

Komlik told RFE/RL hours after his release late in the afternoon of October 2 that he was ordered not to leave Minsk while investigations into the case are under way. Komlik also said that he considers his incarceration to be a form of psychological pressure on him after he refused to cooperate with investigators.

Komlik was arrested on August 2 and charged with tax evasion. The chairman of the union representing workers in the electronic industry, Henadz Fyadynich, was also charged with tax evasion, but not arrested.

Fyadynich called Komlik's release "a general success." He told RFE/RL that "although the charges against us sound economic, everyone understands that it is politically motivated."

Fyadynich also said the case against him, his assistants, and his organization is connected to the union's role in organizing protests in February and March against an unpopular labor law imposing a tax on the unemployed.

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