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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Belarus Frees American




MINSK, Belarus -- Belarussian authorities have released a U.S. citizen detained earlier on charges of attempting to smuggle 18th-century manuscripts out of the country, officials said Friday.


A spokesman for the Belarussian security service said the American, identified as Velvel Tabak, 27, was released Thursday, a day after his arrest on charges of trying to take out the manuscripts last April.


The case is still pending, said the spokesman who refused to identify himself. The U.S. Embassy in Minsk has confirmed Tabak's release but refused further comment.


The security service, which still goes under its Soviet-era acronym KGB in Belarus, said the manuscripts, dating from the late18th and early 19th centuries, were written in Hebrew.


It said the smuggling attempt was discovered in April, but the alleged suspect could not be arrested until he returned to Belarus this week.