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Belarus opposition leader jailed before planned protest

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Opposition leader Nikolai Statkevich delivers a speech during a rally in Minsk, Belarus. (AP/Sergei Grits)

Opposition leader Nikolai Statkevich delivers a speech during a rally in Minsk, Belarus. (AP/Sergei Grits)

Opposition leader Nikolai Statkevich delivers a speech during a rally in Minsk, Belarus. (AP/Sergei Grits)

Leading opposition figure Nikolai Statkevich has been arrested and jailed in Belarus on the eve of a planned protest, his wife has said.

Maria Adamovich said Sunday that she was informed by police on Saturday that her husband had been jailed for five days. She said that police did not say why.

Statkevich is one of the most prominent figures in Belarus' beleaguered opposition.

Authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, in office since 1994, suppresses opposition and independent news media.

Statkevich ran against Lukashenko in the 2010 election and was arrested after a large demonstration protesting against the results. He spent the next five years in prison.

An unusually widespread wave of protests broke out in Belarus this year and another has been called for Monday in the capital, Minsk.

AP

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