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7 presidential candidates face 15 years in Belarus after mass arrests

 
 
 
 
 
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Alexander Lukashenko has ruled the country since 1994 and has been dubbed “Europe’s last dictator”.

A Belarusian human rights organization says seven of the candidates who ran against the country’s authoritarian leader face charges that could lead to 15 years in prison in the wake of post-election violence and massive arrests.

Ales Belyatsky of the human rights center Vesna said the charges have been filed by the KGB, as the former Soviet state’s security service is still called.

Some 700 people, including the candidates, were arrested after Sunday’s election that gave authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko a fourth term in office. Many of the arrests came on Sunday night, when thousands protested over what international monitors called fraudulent results.

Two of the arrested candidates were later released, but Belyatsky said Wednesday that one of them, Grigory Kostusyev, had been brought in by the KGB for further questioning.

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