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Belarusian lawyer and human rights activist Aleh Vouchak
MINSK -- Police have arrested well-known Belarusian human rights activist Aleh Vouchak and charged him with hooliganism.

Vouchak was able to inform his friends and colleagues via his cell phone on January 27 that police were taking him to a pretrial detention center and that his trial is scheduled for January 30.

Vouchak said he was arrested right after he visited a post office in Minsk from where he mailed a copy of the independent newspaper "Narodnaya volya" (People's Will) to Ivan Kruk, a colleague in the western city of Astravets.

No further details are available.

Vouchak is a former investigator at the Minsk Prosecutor-General's Office. Since 1990 he has been involved in human rights activities.
Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Ministry says three Kyrgyz citizens have been rescued from de-facto 10-year slavery in neighboring Kazakhstan.

Officials said one of the rescued Kyrgyz nationals, a 49-year woman, arrived in Bishkek on January 27.

The officials said a 48-year Kyrgyz man and his 17-year son, who were also rescued, are currently under protection on the premises of a nongovernmental organization in the Kazakh city of Almaty.

The three were reportedly used as workers against their will in Kazakhstan for some 10 years.

Further details about their alleged ordeal were not immediately available. Thousands of Kyrgyz citizens work in Russia and Kazakhstan as labor migrants.

Experts say that often their rights are violated because they do not have residence or work permits in those countries.

compiled from agency reports

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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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