Toddler son of Belarus presidential candidate to remain with family

The three-year-old son of a jailed Belarus presidential candidate has been allowed to remain with his family after threatening to place him in an orphanage.

Andrei Sannikov, an opponent of Alexander Lukashenko, the authoritarian president, was arrested along with six other presidential candidates in mass protests during the December election.

The boy's mother, Irina Khalip, was also detained.

KGB security forces gave Miss Khalip's mother, Lyutsina, until the end of January to prove she was fit to care for her grandson, Danil Sannikov.

But the grandmother had been declared a legal guardian, according to reports.

Mr Lukahsenko meanwhile was sworn in for a fourth term in Friday, in a lavish ceremony boycotted by the West over the election crackdown.

In his oath-taking at the immense Palace of the Republic in Minsk, Mr Lukashenko pledged to serve the Belarussian people and also "respect and preserve the rights and freedom of people and citizens."

But in a stern speech attended by thousands in the vast main hall, he then warned that the "time for revolutions and revolts was over" and vowed to protect the country from threats at home and abroad.

He praised Belarussian voters for "not ceding to political provocations and the hysteria of politicians and venal journalists".


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