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Volha Nyaklyaeva, wife of candidate for president Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu, in November photograph.
MINSK -- The wife of a jailed former Belarusian presidential candidate says the KGB searched her apartment to prevent her from meeting with visiting U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Volha Nyaklyaeva, wife of imprisoned former presidential candidate Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu, told RFE/RL that three KGB officers stopped her as she was leaving her apartment block on her way to meet Durbin early on January 14. She said the KGB officers showed her a search warrant dated January 3.

Nyaklyaeva said the search was brief, as the couple's apartment has just two rooms and authorities have already hauled off many objects.

"We do not have computers or any other information and database carriers, as the police confiscated everything in May," Nyaklyaeva told RFE/RL. She said the KGB officers looked through all the books written by her husband, a well-known poet in Belarus.

Nyaklyaeva added that the three KGB officers were polite.

KGB officers meanwhile went to the apartment of Syarhey Klyueu -- an opposition activist and coordinator of the Tell the Truth campaign -- to conduct a search. The officers said the search was in conjunction with investigations into the "mass disorder" of December 19, when thousands rallied in a central Minsk square after polls closed to protest official election results that gave incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka an overwhelming victory.

The KGB also summoned Alina Suravets, a deputy chairwoman of the Association of Belarusian Journalists (BAZ), for questioning on January 14.

One day earlier, KGB officers interrogated BAZ Chairwoman Zhanna Litvina, and on January 12 BAZ Deputy Chairman Andrey Bastunets was summoned and questioned.

Four former presidential candidates -- Ales Mikhalevich, Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu, Andrey Sannikau, and Mikalay Statkevich -- who were arrested on December 19 remain in custody. They have officially been charged with organizing mass disorder.

Since January 1, only Mikhalevich's lawyer has been allowed to see his client.

Nyaklyaeu and Sannikau were both beaten before they were arrested and have not yet recovered from their injuries.

Read these stories in Belarusian here, here, and here
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Police in Almaty have confiscated the latest issue of the opposition weekly "Golos Respubliki" (Voice of the Republic), RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Newspaper spokesman Sergei Zelepukhin told journalists that police stopped the paper's delivery vehicle late on January 13 with thousands of copies of this week's issue.

He said the driver and accompanying staff members were taken to a police station, where they were told they had been detained on suspicion of spreading false information. The individuals were later released, but the newspapers were confiscated.

Zelepukhin said the issue contained articles criticizing the proposed national referendum on prolonging President Nursultan Nazarbaev's term in office until 2020.

The upper and lower chambers of parliament voted today in favor of holding the referendum. A yes vote could allow Nazarbaev to bypass the presidential election due in 2012.

"Golos Respubliki" journalist Oksana Makushina told a press conference in Almaty that just 3,000 copies of the total print-run of 19,000 made their way to newsstands in Almaty.

Read in Kazakh here

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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