Union Leader In Belarus Charged With Tax Evasion

MINSK -- The leader of an independent labor union in Belarus says he has been charged with tax evasion.

Henadz Fyadynich, chairman of a union that represents workers in the industry that makes radios and other electronic products, told RFE/RL on August 14 that he had been formally charged and ordered not to leave Minsk.

Belarusian Investigative Committee spokeswoman Yulia Hancharova confirmed to RFE/RL that Fyadynich was charged.

She said the union's bookkeeper, Ihor Komlik, had also been charged with tax evasion.

On August 2, police searched the union's offices and confiscated office equipment and financial documents.

Komlik was arrested and put in pretrial detention at the time.

Fyadynich has said that the case against him, his assistants, and his organization is politically motivated.

He says the case is connected to the union's role in organizing protests in February and March against an unpopular labor law imposing a tax on the unemployed.