2 opposition activists, journalist arrested in Belarus

By: The Associated Press

MINSK, Belarus - A newspaper editor and two opposition activists have been arrested in the latest crackdown on dissent in the ex-Soviet nation of Belarus, a rights group said Wednesday.

Oleg Gulag of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, an independent rights group, said the three men were among several dozen opposition activists detained by Belarusian authorities late Tuesday.

He said Wednesday that other detainees were released after questioning, but Vladimir Neklyayev, the leader of Speak the Truth opposition group; Andrei Dmitriyev, an activist of the opposition United Civil Party; and Sergei Voznyak, the editor of the opposition newspaper Tovarishch were arrested on charges of spreading false information.

President Alexander Lukashenko has relentlessly cracked down on opposition and independent news media during his 16-year rule.

Some political observers said the latest arrests could be part of a crackdown aimed at the remaining opposition ahead of the presidential election that must be held before February.


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