Two arrested Belarus presidential candidates freed

December 21, 2010 14:08

MINSK, Belarus— Two of the Belarusian presidential candidates who were arrested in the hours after the election have been released.

Seven of the nine candidates opposing authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko were arrested Sunday and early Monday, some of them when riot police clashed with a crowd of thousands of demonstrators outside the main government building to protest alleged vote fraud.The preliminary count gave Lukashenko nearly 80 percent of the vote, but international observers say the count was seriously flawed.

Candidate Grigory Kostusyev was later released and appeared at a news conference Tuesday. He said arrested candidate Dmitry Uss also had been released.

The news conference was called to announce an attempt to unify opposition forces, intimidated by the arrest of many of their leaders and hundreds of their activists.

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