Belarus: 7 presidential candidates face 15 years

The candidates ran against Belarus` authoritarian leader in recent election.

Minsk: A Belarusian human rights organisation on Wednesday said that seven candidates who ran against the country`s authoritarian leader in the recent election could face up to 15 years in prison in the wake of post-election violence and massive arrests.

Some were beaten in the course of being arrested and a lawyer for one of the candidates said his client is unable to walk due to his injuries.

The former Soviet state`s security service, which is still called the KGB, has filed charges against 20 top opposition figures, including the seven candidates, for organising mass disturbances, said Ales Belyatsky of the human rights centre Vesna.

KGB spokesman Alexander Antonovich declined to comment.

Overall, some 700 people were arrested after Sunday`s election that gave Alexander Lukashenko a fourth term in office. Two of the arrested candidates were later released, but both of them, Grigory Kostusyev and Dmitry Uss, were yesterday summoned to KGB offices for further questioning.

Many of the arrests came on Sunday night, when thousands protested the results. International monitors called the election fraudulent.