Crime & Justice

Leading Belarusian opposition figures face lengthy prison sentences

Moscow, Sep 6 (EFE).- Belarusian opposition figures Maria Kolesnikova and Maxim Znak were handed respective 11-year and 10-year prison sentences Monday.

Kolesnikova and Znak, members of the Belarusian Coordination Council for a peaceful transfer of power, were found guilty of creating an extremist group, plotting to seize power and threatening national security, according to the Minsk-based Viasna Human Rights Center.

Their trial began behind closed doors in the Belarusian capital Minsk on August 4.

Kolesnikova was arrested in September 2020 after she refused to be deported to Ukraine by the Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB).

Last year, mass protests gripped the country when the electoral commission announced Alexander Lukashenko had won over 80% of a vote that is considered by the opposition to have been rigged. Many key opposition figures were jailed in the wake of the vote.

Lukashenko, often referred to by his detractors as Europe’s last dictator, has been in power since 1994.EFE


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