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Belarus Opposition Activists Freed From Jail, But Passports Held

Anatoly Lebedko was convicted of hooliganism
MINSK -- Three opposition activists in Belarus have been released from jail, a day after they were arrested while trying to travel to Brussels to meet European Union officials.

RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports that authorities did not return their passports to them -- a move that prevents them from traveling abroad.

Anatoly Lebedko said he and the two others were released on March 29 after being convicted of hooliganism and fined the equivalent of $45 by a court in the town of Orsha.

The three were arrested on March 28 on a train bound for Moscow, from which they intended to fly to Brussels.

President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has blocked opposition figures from traveling abroad.

EU-Belarus tensions rose last month when Minsk told the Polish and EU ambassadors to leave and the union's member countries recalled all their ambassadors.

With reporting by AP
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    RFE/RL's Belarus Service

    RFE/RL's Belarus Service is one of the leading providers of news and analysis to Belarusian audiences in their own language. It is a bulwark against pervasive Russian propaganda and defies the government’s virtual monopoly on domestic broadcast media.