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Belarus rights group says its leader detained

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Aug. 4, 2011, 9:28 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Associated Press
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MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Belarus' most prominent rights group says that its leader has been detained and its office is being searched by authorities. Vladimir Labkovich, an activist with the Vesna rights group, said its leader Ales Belyatsky was detained by police Thursday outside his home in the Belarusian capital. Police and other officials refused to comment.

Vesna has been active in reporting on the police crackdown on a recent series of peaceful rallies. The protests have reflected mounting public discontent against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Lukashenko, who has ruled the nation of 10 million people for nearly 17 years, won another term in December's election that was criticized by international observers. His government is now facing a mounting financial crisis.
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