Two of Belarus’s opposition figures who challenged the presidential elections in 2020 have been jailed for attempting to threaten nationwide safety.
Maria Kolesnikova, 39, who was one of many leaders of mass road protests in opposition to President Alexander Lukashenko, has been sentenced to 11 years in jail, the state-run Belta information company stated.
She was arrested in September after ripping up her passport, stopping Belarusian safety forces from deporting her in a standoff on the Ukrainian border.
The musician-turned-politician was one of many faces of the mass opposition motion throughout final yr’s election, which opposition leaders say was rigged to increase Mr Lukashenko’s presidency.
Ms Kolesnikova and one other senior opposition determine, lawyer Maxim Znak, have been charged with extremism and attempting to grab energy illegally.
Mr Znak was sentenced to 10 years in jail at a court docket in Minsk.
Each deny any wrongdoing and Ms Kolesnikova known as the costs absurd.
“Maria & Maksim are the heroes for Belarusians. The regime desires us to see them crushed & exhausted. However look – they’re smiling & dancing,” stated exiled opposition determine Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on Twitter.
The regime sentenced Maria Kalesnikava & Maksim Znak to 11 & 10 years in jail. We demand the fast launch of Maria & Maksim, who aren’t responsible of something. It is terror in opposition to Belarusians who dare to face as much as the regime. We can’t cease till all people is free in Belarus. pic.twitter.com/RbnefQzX0q
— Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (@Tsihanouskaya) September 6, 2021
“They know – we’ll launch them a lot sooner than these 11 years. Their phrases should not frighten us – Maksim and Maria would not need this.”
The trial started final month however was not open to the general public on nationwide safety grounds.
Ms Kolesnikova is amongst hundreds of people that have been detained after the protests started.
She was certainly one of three ladies who joined forces to entrance final yr’s protests in opposition to Mr Lukashenko after male candidates had been prevented from standing in opposition to him.
Victor Babariko, one of many males who tried to run within the election, was jailed for 14 years in July.
Mr Lukashenko, who has denied electoral fraud, has been in workplace since 1994 and has confronted western sanctions since launching the crackdowns on his opponents.