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Belarus Lessens Charges Against Opposition Leaders

Vital Rymasheuski (pictured) was injured in the clashes between opposition protesters and police in Minsk on December 19, while Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu was arrested in a hospital bed.
Belarus has softened charges against two former presidential candidates arrested during postelection protests in December.

Vital Rymasheuski, the leader of the opposition Christian Democratic Party, and Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu were among five presidential candidates arrested during the protests against the reelection of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Both faced prison terms of up to 15 years on charges of organizing mass unrest.

In a statement today, the Interior Ministry said the two now faced only lesser charges of organizing acts that disturbed public order, which carry a prison term of up to three years.

compiled from agency reports