Belarusian opposition figurehead Kolesnikova faces as much as 5 years in jail, charged with ‘publicly calling for seizure of power’

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Belarusian opposition activist Maria Kolesnikova has been charged with publicly calling for seizure of energy, investigators stated Wednesday. She is the one considered one of three ladies who led this summer time’s protests nonetheless within the nation.

Kolesnikova who – along with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Veronika Tsepkalo – spearheaded marches opposing long-time President Alexander Lukashenko was arrested final week after a dramatic chain of occasions. She was apparently kidnapped in broad daylight on a Minsk avenue earlier than an try and forcibly deport her to Ukraine resulted in failure after she ripped up her passport to scupper the plan.

The three ladies discovered themselves on the entrance of the opposition motion after three males who initially fulfilled the roles had been both arrested, or went into exile.

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Tsepkalo’s husband, Valery, initially fled to Russia and Kolensnikova’s partner, Sergey, was jailed. Kolesnikova had been the marketing campaign supervisor for an additional potential election candidate, Viktor Babariko, who was denied a spot on the poll and imprisoned.

“Today, investigators brought charges against Maria Kolesnikova under Article 361.3 of the Criminal Code (calls for actions aimed at harming the national security of Belarus, made through the media and on the internet). She remains in custody. The investigation continues,” an announcement from the nation’s Investigative Committee declared. The article carries a penalty of two to 5 years in jail.

Kolesnikova was detained within the early hours of September eight and brought into custody. According to the Belarusian State Border Committee, she was apprehended whereas making an attempt to illegally cross the border with Ukraine.

Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following final month’s presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official outcomes, incumbent  Lukashenko gained by a landslide, garnering 80.10 % of the vote. His closest rival within the race, Tikhanovskaya, got here in second, with 10.12 % of the poll. However, she refused to acknowledge the election’s final result, and left Belarus for Lithuania.

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After the outcomes of the exit polls had been introduced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and different Belarusian cities. During the early post-election interval, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The election is broadly believed to have been falsified.

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