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World News

UK expresses concern over welfare of prominent Belarus protest leader

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain called on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s government to make the return of protest leader Maria Kolesnikova its highest priority following reports that the opposition politician was detained by unidentified masked men.

Kolesnikova, a member of the opposition coordination council, is the last of three female politicians left in Belarus who joined forces before an Aug. 9 presidential election to try to challenge veteran incumbent Lukashenko.

“Seriously concerned for the welfare of Maria Kolesnikova,” said Dominic Raab, Britain’s foreign minister.

“Lukashenko’s regime must make her safe return their highest priority. The regime must cease brutalising protesters, release political prisoners and begin dialogue with the opposition.”

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Gareth Jones

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