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Belarusian Activists Detained Ahead Of Party Congress

A policeman fines activist Ales Charkashyn in Berastse.
BERASTSE, Belarus -- Two leaders of the unregistered Belarusian Christian Democratic party's (BKhD) branch in western Belarus have been detained by traffic police, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

A BKhD coordinator in the Berastse Province, Zmitser Shurkhay, and the BKhD's organizing committee chief in the city of Berastse, Ales Charkashin, were visiting the region's various towns and cities to prepare for their party's congress on December 17.

Shurkhay told RFE/RL by phone that he and Charkashin were taken to the police station in Berastse's Moscow district on December 15.

Shurkhay added that on their way back to Berastse from the town of Kobryn today, a group of police and officers of the traffic police stopped them and told them that their car looks like one that struck and killed a man in Minsk.

"We told them that we have not been in Minsk, that we just visited Kobryn and were in Berastse," Shurkhay said. "But they took us to the Moscow district police to have our car checked. I do not exclude that all of this is connected with our party congress. In the past, police have tried to detain us on the eve of our congresses."

Charkashin has been fined by the traffic police in the past. He and his colleagues say these were politically motivated actions.

Read more in Belarusian here