Roman Catholic priest Uladzislau Lazar is charged with handing over “money and material valuables” to a person accused of spying for a foreign state, the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Belarus says in a statement issued on September 12.
“Today, after much effort and a long wait, the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Belarus received information from government agencies about the detention of priest Uladzislau Lazar,” the statement says.
The priest stands accused under Part One of the Criminal Code’s Article 356, which penalizes high treason, and under Part Six of Article 16, which penalizes complicity in a crime.
Apostolic Nuncio Claudio Gugerotti will soon be given the opportunity to personally meet with the detainee, the statement says.
On July 26, 2013 Aliaksandr Lukashenka revealed that authorities had recently arrested an officer of a Belarusian intelligence agency who had supplied information to “foreign states” through representatives of the Catholic Church. After his statement the information on the arrest of priest Uladzislau Lazar appeared in social media.
In cases of conflicts with the authorities priests who come from abroad may count on diplomatic assistance. As priest Lazar is a citizen of Belarus his one recourse is the Holy See.
Belsat, following BelaPAN