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Belarus: priest faces treason charge, government offers no details

Catholic World News - October 15, 2013

A Catholic priest who was arrested in Belarus on May 31 is being charged with treason, but government officials have not explained the charges or provided supporting evidence, the Forum 18 news service reports.

Father Vladislav Lazar is being held by the secret police, and the apostolic nuncio in Belarus, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, has been denied permission to visit him. The government has not even specified the charge against him, Forum 18 notes; it was Church officials who said the priest is being accused of treason—a charge that could result in a 7-year minimum prison sentence.

Father Lazar insists that he is completely innocent, and a family friend says that the case against him is “falling apart.” Government officials have refused to provide any information about the case, apart from a July public statement by President Aleksandr Lukashenko, who claimed that Father Lazar was “connected with foreign states through representatives of the Catholic Church.”

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