EU concerns over arrest of presidential candidate in Belarus

The European Union's presidency on Friday expressed "deep concern" over the violent arrest of an opposition presidential candidate in Belarus and urged the country to guarantee the personal safety of all those taking part in the election.

Alexander Kozulin, was beaten and detained Thursday by government security agents after he tried to enter a conference chaired by current president Alexander Lukashenko. "The EU expects Belarus to ... assure a free, transparent and fair election process, safeguarding in particular the right of assembly and freedom of expression," the EU said in a statement from Austria , which currently holds the presidency of the 25-nation bloc.

Belarus must also ensure the personal security of all presidential candidates before, during and after the elections, the EU said. Kozulin said he tried to attend the conference because "I wanted to tell the truth about the dictatorship we live in", reports the AP.


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