Four days before presidential race ends, Belarusian police briefly detain campaign chief of main opposition candidate
On Thursday morning, just four days before Belarus’s presidential race concludes, police reportedly arrested Maria Moroz (Maryja Maroz), the campaign chief for leading opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya). According to spokespeople for her campaign, men identifying themselves as Interior Ministry officers took Moroz into custody around 11 a.m., Minsk time, as she exited the Lithuanian embassy after submitting paperwork for a visa.
Update: The Belarusian Interior Ministry denies that its officers arrested Ms. Moroz. Tikhanovskaya’s campaign now confirms that Moroz has been released. She told the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti that agents from Belarus’s Organized Crime Unit detained her “for a chat.”
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is the chief rival opposing long-time incumbent Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka) in the Belarusian presidential election, which wraps up on Sunday, August 9. After election officials barred the candidacies of Lukashenko’s two chief rivals, Victor Babariko (Viktar Babaryka) and Valery Tsepkalo (Valeryy Tsapkala), both campaigns endorsed Tikhanovskaya. There are no other candidates with widespread support.