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Belarus has asked Lithuania to extradite Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leading opposition candidate in last year's presidential election.
Sviatlana Cichanouskaja
Sviatlana Cichanouskaja
© Reuters / Scanpix

"The Prosecutor General's Office of Belarus has sent a request to the Prosecutor General's Office of Lithuania, seeking the extradition of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to face prosecution for crimes against the government system, public security, and the state," the Belarusian prosecutors said in a statement on Friday.

The Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office would not comment on whether they have received the request.

"The Prosecutor's Office cannot comment on international legal assistance requests from foreign countries, because this is the principle of cooperation between states," Elena Martinoniene, spokeswoman for the Lithuanian prosecutor general, told BNS.

Only the requesting state can comment on "whether or not such legal assistance requests have been submitted," she added.

Belarus has been facing protests since Alexander Lukashenko was declared the winner of the August 9 presidential election which the opposition and Western countries say was rigged.

Tsikhanouskaya took refuge in Lithuania shortly after the election in which she claimed victory against the authoritarian leader who has ruled the country since 1994. She had sent her children to Lithuania for safety before the election.

Law-enforcement bodies loyal to the regime accuse people close to Tsikhanouskaya of organizing mass unrest.

Tsikhanouskaya says she has always supported peaceful methods to solve the political crisis.

BNS
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