Belarus’s prosecutor’s office announced on Wednesday that it had launched a prosecution of opposition leader Maryja Kalesnikova. According to the media, it decided to do so after the committee of inquiry officially accused a member of the leadership of the opposition coordination board of calling for actions endangering national security. For this, Kalesnikava faces two to five years in prison.
According to the independent server Tut.by, the General Prosecutor’s Office began to prosecute Kalesnikova on the basis of an article of the Criminal Code, which concerns calls for the seizure of power or acts threatening the security of the state. In addition to Kalesnikova, another member of the leadership of the Belarusian opposition’s coordination board, Maksim Znak, is suspected of the same crime. The Council argues that its objectives and approach are in line with the law and based on the Constitution.
Kalesnikava was detained on Monday, September 7, by masked people, apparently Belarusian security officials, and on Tuesday night they tried to force her out of the country, across the border into Ukraine. However, they did not succeed, because the woman tore off her passport in front of the border and climbed out the window of the car that was supposed to take her out. She was then detained on charges of crossing the border illegally. He has been in custody ever since.
The creation of a coordination council to facilitate dialogue with the authorities and the transfer of power was initiated on 14 August by opposition presidential candidate Sviatlana Cichanouska. According to a large part of the Belarusian public, it won the presidential election on August 9. However, the authorities officially declared Alexander Lukashenko the winner, who has ruled the country with a hard hand for 26 years. Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have been protesting against the results of the presidential election since August 9, and consider the election of Lukashenko with an alleged eighty percent of the votes to be fraud.