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Belarusian police arrest Olympic skiers for violating protest laws

Freestyle Skiing – Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018 – Women’s Aerials Training – Phoenix Snow Park – Pyeongchang, South Korea – February 15, 2018. Aliaksandra Ramanouskaya of Belarus during training. REUTERS / Issei Kato / File Photo

MOSCOW, November 11 (Reuters) – Belarusian police have arrested and fined freestyle skier Aliaksandra Ramanouskaya in the c -ital Minsk for allegedly violating protest laws.

The Belarusian Sports Solidarity Foundation announced that Ramanouskaya, 25, was arrested on Wednesday after a training session and was being held at a police station in Minsk.

Ramanouskaya, the 2019 world air sports champion, was fined more than $ 1,000 on Thursday for her alleged offenses, the foundation said.

Minsk police confirmed that the 25-year-old, who took part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, had been arrested for an administrative offense, but did not provide any information about the alleged violation.

Two representatives of the Belarusian Interior Ministry were not immediately available for Reuters to comment.

Ramanouskaya is among the signatories of an open letter of protest signed by more than 2,000 Belarusian athletes, coaches and athletics staff condemning the 2020 presidential election, in which Alexander Lukashenko retained power, as fraudulent. He rejects allegations that the vote was manipulated.

The letter calling for the vote to be repeated also called for the release of all those arrested during the mass protests that broke out across Belarus after the election and that the authorities repressed.

A number of Belarusian athletes who participated in the protests or expressed support for the opposition – including Olympic decathlete Andrei Krauchanka and basketball player Yelena Leuchanka – were arrested and served some time in prison.

Others lost their state jobs or were kicked out of national teams.

At that year’s Tokyo Olympics, Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya refused to take a flight home when she was removed from the Games against her will by her team after publicly complaining about national coaches.

She defected to Poland and said she feared for her safety if she returned to Belarus. Continue reading

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber Editing by Gareth Jones and Peter Graff

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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