Valery Tsepkalo, a Belarusian presidential candidate barred from running in next month's election by the central elections commission, has left the country with his children, TUT.by reported on July 24, quoting his wife Veronika.
Tsepkalo is currently in Russia and his move was caused by a tip-off from "trusted sources" that Belarusian authorities were planning "to detain him on far-fetched grounds," TUT.by reported.
"Two days ago, prosecutors showed up at the school which our children attend and asked teachers to file some reports," Veronika Tsepkalo was quoted as saying by TUT.by. "As I understand, they've launched a process for depriving me of custody of my children. This was the trigger for our decision to take Valery and the children out of Belarusian territory, as we see a real threat and danger."
Tsepkalo, a former ambassador to the United States and founder of a successful high-tech park in Belarus' capital, Minsk, was excluded from the ballot after a large proportion of signatures supporting his presidential bid were nullified.
His wife has stressed that she's staying in Belarus to work in the campaign of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was registered as candidate.
Last week, the campaigns of Tikhanovskaya, Tsepkalo and Viktor Babariko, a candidate barred from the ballot and imprisoned, joined forces to compete against incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko, who has run Belarus since 1994.