Freestyle skier Aliaksandra Ramanouskaya detained by Belarusian police

Ramanouskaya among the signatories of an open letter protesting 2020 election result

Aliaksandra Ramanouskaya has been detained by Belarusian police with no reason given.  Photograph:  Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Aliaksandra Ramanouskaya has been detained by Belarusian police with no reason given. Photograph: Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

 

Belarusian police have detained freestyle skier Aliaksandra Ramanouskaya in the capital Minsk, a foundation that supports athletes jailed or sidelined for their political views said on Thursday.

The Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation said the reason for Ramanouskaya’s detention had not been disclosed. Local media quoted Minsk police as saying she had been detained for an administrative offence.

Two representatives of the Belarusian Interior Ministry could not immediately be reached by Reuters for comment.

The 25-year-old, who competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and is the 2019 world champion in aerials, was detained after a training session on Wednesday and is being held at a police station in Minsk, the foundation said.

Ramanouskaya is among the signatories of an open letter of protest signed by more than 2,000 Belarusian sports figures, coaches and athletics personnel, that condemned as fraudulent the 2020 presidential election that saw Alexander Lukashenko retain power. He denies claims that the vote was rigged.

The letter, which demanded a re-run of the vote, also called for the release of all those detained during mass street protests which erupted across Belarus after the election and which the authorities quashed.

A number of Belarusian athletes who took part in the protests or voiced support for the opposition - including Olympic decathlete Andrei Krauchanka and basketball player Yelena Leuchanka - were detained and served stints in jail.

Others lost their state employment or were kicked off national teams.

At the Tokyo Olympics this year, Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya refused to board a flight back home when she was removed from the Games against her will by her team after she publicly complained about national coaches.

She defected to Poland, saying she feared for her safety if she returned to Belarus.

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