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Belarusian authorities to allow jailed opposition leader to attend wife's funeral

Belarusian authorities to allow jailed opposition leader to attend wife's funeral

Authorities in Belarus will allow a jailed opposition leader to attend his wife's funeral, his lawyer said Tuesday, after their initial refusal triggered international pressure for his temporary release.
Authorities gave Alexander Kozulin three days to attend the funeral of his wife, Irina Kozulina, who died of cancer on Saturday, said lawyer Igor Rynkevich.
The United States and European union demanded in the days leading up to and after Kozulin's wife's death that he be set free.
On Monday, the White House reiterated the demand, calling Belarus' refusal to release a hunger-striking Kozulin incomprehensible.
Kozulin, a candidate for president in 2006, was arrested during a postelection protest. The opposition says the vote was rigged in favor of President Alexander Lukashenko. Kozulin was convicted of organizing mass protests and sentenced to 5 1/2 years in a high-security prison.
Kozulin went on a hunger strike after being denied permission to attend the funeral, which is planned for Wednesday. His two daughters and three other supporters also joined the hunger strike, and about 1,000 people marched through the capital, Minsk, on Monday to show their solidarity.
Washington and Brussels have imposed sanctions against Lukashenko and other government officials for quashing political opposition, shuttering independent media and holding elections that the West has dismissed as illegitimate.
Several opposition figures have been released since the start of the year in what Lukashenko has called "an unprecedented step of good will toward the West."


Updated : 2021-06-18 01:36 GMT+08:00