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"Lukashenko uses tortures,” accuses Gazeta Wyborcza, citing testimony of one of the opposition’s presidential candidates, Ales Mikhalevich, detained after an anti-regime demonstration in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. The 20,000 strong protest against the rigged elections of 19 December which, according to official figures, Mr Lukashenko won with 80-percent support, was subject to a brutal police crackdown and over 800 arrests, including Mikhalevich. “My hands were handcuffed at the back, twisted upwards so hard my bones creaked. I was deprived of sleep, forced to stand naked with my legs spread. They demanded a pledge that I’d do everything the KGB [security service] would tell me, finally I agreed,” says Mikhalevich, released from prison on 19 February. With 30 other opposition activists, he is now awaiting trial for “organising and participating in mass riots,” a crime that carries a penalty of up to 15 years’ imprisonment. Faced with a new wave of reprisals against the democratic opposition in Belarus, the EU on January 31 restored visa sanctions against 158 officials of the Minsk regime and froze their assets.