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Belarusian Deputy Interior Minister Arrested

Yauhen Poludzen has been deputy interior minister since August 2009.
MINSK -- A Belarusian deputy interior minister who took a leading role in the postelection crackdown on the opposition has been arrested, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Interior Ministry officials told RFE/RL that Yauhen Poludzen was arrested by KGB officers.

Alyaksandr Antanovich, chief of the Belarusian KGB's Information and Public Affairs Center, declined to comment to RFE/RL on Poludzen's arrest.

A brief statement on the Prosecutor-General Office's website says Poludzen is being investigated for possible abuse of office.

Poludzen's colleagues told RFE/RL that he was very active last week, presenting to parliament a draft law drawn up by the Interior Ministry and taking part in ceremonies to award law enforcement officers in the Minsk and Berastse regions.

One colleague said he "did not look worried."

Poludzen is well known for his leading role in dispersing opposition gatherings and protests and arresting activists. He has been working as deputy interior minister since August 2009.

He is on a list of some 200 Belarusian individuals barred from entry to the European Union over Minsk's crackdown on demonstrators who protested against last year's disputed presidential election.

Read more in Belarusian here