(ANSA-AFP) - MINSK, MAR 5 - Belarus said on Friday it had requested the extradition of exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was forced from the country during a crackdown on critics of leader Alexander Lukashenko. Tikhanovskaya, who challenged Lukashenko in last year's presidential vote that the opposition said was rigged, sought refuge in EU member Lithuania as the crackdown intensified on anti-government demonstrations in her home country. The Belarus General Prosecutor's Office said on Friday it had requested that Lithuania extradite her "to face prosecution for crimes against the governing order, public safety and the state". Investigators said this week that Tikhanovskaya, who stood in the August vote in place of her jailed husband, had planned with associates to instigate riots and capture government buildings in the second city Gomel. Tikhanovskaya has dismissed the claims. Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis responded that his country "has been and will be a brick wall behind which all democratic forces persecuted by regimes will find refugee". "We can say only one thing to the Belarusian regime: hell will first have to freeze over before we consider your requests," he said. (ANSA-AFP).