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Detained Belarusian Presidential Candidate Reportedly In Poor Health

Presidential candidate Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu was hospitalized after being beaten during clashes between protesters and police in Minsk, before later being arrested.
The lawyer of a Belarusian presidential candidate who has been in prison for 10 days is raising concern about her client's life.

Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu was detained along with other presidential candidates after police violently broke up a December 19 mass rally in Minsk against the election victory of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Nyaklyaeu's lawyer, Tamara Sidarenka, said her client was suffering from a hypertensive crisis and called for his immediate hospitalization.

Sidarenka said Nyaklyaeu, who was severely beaten before the rally, was unable to speak and was suffering from very high blood pressure when she visited him in prison in Minsk today.

Meanwhile, Belarusian authorities today charged Nyaklyaeu and three other former presidential candidates -- Vital Rymasheuski, Mikalay Statkevich, and Andrey Sannikau -- with "organizing activities that led to riots in Minsk on December 19."

The four candidates are being held in a prison controlled by the KGB security service.

If convicted of the charge, they could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

Reports say about half of the 600 people detained after the rally were released today.

RFE/RL's Belarus Service, with agency reports