Updated at 15:09,08-07-2020

Mikhalevich accuses KGB of forcing him to pledge to be its informant


Former presidential candidate Ales Mikhalevich on Monday announced that he had been released from the Committee for State Security (KGB)’s detention center after agreeing to act as a KGB informant.

At a news conference in Minsk, the 35-year-old Mikhalevich said that he had accepted the proposal because of "the horrible detention conditions that were tantamount to torture."

He said that with the Monday statement, he abandoned his promise to cooperate with the KGB. "It is most likely that today I will be brought back to where I was, and they will treat me even worse," he said.

Mr. Mikhalevich said that he sent earlier in the day a letter to the Prosecutor General’s Office by registered mail to complain to it about his detention conditions in the KGB jail.

He also revealed that the authorities presented him with an "ultimatum" on December 20 that he should make a televised statement to condemn a post-election protest held in Minsk the previous day. He said that he was later told that he would have to read out the statement made by another presidential contender, Yaraslaw Ramanchuk, on December 20.

When reached by BelaPAN, KGB spokesman Alyaksandr Antanovich denied that the KGB had freed Mr. Mikhalevich on the condition that he would act as its agent.

"As for the use of torture, the allegation is certainly untrue," he said.

Mr. Mikhalevich, who was arrested on the morning of December 20, was let out of the KGB jail on February 19.

He is among more than 40 people who have been charged and may face lengthy prison terms in a so-called riot case opened over the post-election protest in Minsk.

The first trial in the case was held on February 17, with a district judge in Minsk sentencing a young opposition activist, Vasil Parfyankow, to four years in prison for his participation in the mass demonstration.

Two former presidential candidates continue to be held in the KGB detention center, along with their aides and allies of other ex-candidates.