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Belarus: priest arrested, held without charges amid rumors of espionage

September 09, 2013

Officials in Belarus have held a Catholic priest in jail since May 31 without explanation, the Forum 18 news service reports. Although no charges have been filed, many people believe that Father Vladislav Lazar is being accused of espionage.

In July, President Aleksandr Lukashenko announced that police had arrested a “traitor” who was “connected with foreign states through representatives of the Catholic Church.” The reference, Forum 18 observes, could have been to Father Lazar. No other Catholic Church official is known to have been arrested or questioned about the case, and the government has not offered any further explanation.

The Belarus government, the country’s Catholic bishops’ conference, and the apostolic nuncio all declined to comment on the imprisonment of Father Lazar. Forum 18 reported that prison officials had not allowed the priest to have a Bible, rosary, or prayer book in his cell.


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