Approximately 140 people were arrested on Friday evening based on human rights team Viasna throughout protests across Belarus that followed the detention of a leading challenger in the upcoming presidential elections.
Viktor Babariko, former leader of commercial lender Belgazprombank, was questioned over tax evasion and money laundering allegations and arrested on Thursday.
Head of the State Control Committee Ivan Hertel explained that Babariko was arrested because he supposedly”tried to stress witnesses and hide the trace of their preceding crimes.”, citing allegations of Belgazprombank channeling over $380 million into a Latvian bank.
It follows Sunday’s hunts in the lender as well as the arrests of its 15 executives.
The incident has highlighted growing tensions between Lukashenko and Russia, the major shareholder of Belgazprombank, that has been predicting for closer integration between both nations for Belarus to maintain receiving cheap gas and oil from Russia.
The Russian owners are known as the decision to present a temporary administration in the lender as a”flagrant violation” of Belarusian law.
Babariko denounced government actions as part of an intimidation campaign.
His house was searched and his attorneys said they have not been granted access to his or her
He’s to register for the presidential race but his first effort collected 425,000 signatures, with just 100,000 required due to his nomination.
His detention brought thousands of protesters into the streets.
Even the demonstrators formed a four-kilometer-long string across downtown Minsk, waving the nation’s white-red-white flags used by the resistance and chanting”Freedom!”.
The 65-year-old leader is looking for a sixth term from the August 9 vote.
He has held the presidential article because the office has been created in 1994.
From the run-up into the election, police have arrested dozens of opposition activists, such as popular blogger Sergei Tikhanovsk and Nikolai Statkevichi, both formerly banned from conducting.
The crackdown on protesters has triggered concerns among EU observers, and nation activists have hypothesized that the fairness of the electoral procedure.