Ex-Belarus presidential candidate Sannikov badly injured - lawyer

Former Belarusian presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov, who is currently being held in custody, has been brutally beaten and being denied qualified medical treatment, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Sannikov was detained in the protest on Sunday along with his wife Irina Khalip, a journalist for the Belarusian Novaya Gazeta. He is one of 17 people, including five other opposition presidential candidates, who face criminal prosecution for allegedly organizing the riots.

"Sannikov was brutally beaten upon detainment. He can barely move one of his legs. Moreover, he is not being provided with qualified medical assistance," lawyer Pavel Sapelko said adding that his client is in an isolation ward of the State Security Committee (KGB).

"A local medic 'gave him a quick once over.' He said Sannikov is suffering either from a sprain or extensive bruising. [The medic] prescribed him some ointment and tablets for his headache," the lawyer said.

RIA Novosti has so far been unable to reach the Belarusian law-enforcement bodies for comments on the incident.

The British Foreign Office, meanwhile, has issued an official statement to the Belarusian authorities urging them to free everyone detained on political motives in Sunday's protests.

More than 600 people were sentenced from five to 15 days in jail for their involvement in a demonstration of over 10,000 people in central Minsk on Sunday.

The unrest came as news emerged that Alexander Lukashenko, dubbed "Europe's last dictator" by the West, had won 79.7 percent of the vote on Sunday.

Dozens were injured as a number of demonstrators tried to storm parliament.

MINSK, December 22 (RIA Novosti)


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