High-profile Belarusian protest chief Maria Kolesnikova charged with conspiracy to grab state energy & organising extremist group

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One of Belarus’ most distinguished opposition figures, Maria Kolesnikova, is dealing with felony prices for her alleged function in organizing long-running demonstrations in opposition to the nation’s embattled chief, Alexander Lukashenko.

That’s in response to the headquarters of jailed former presidential hopeful Viktor Babariko, the place Kolesnikova beforehand labored as a political adviser. On Friday, her supporters issued a press release saying she and one other imprisoned activist, Maksim Znak, had been charged with “conspiracy to seize state power in an unconstitutional manner.”

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Both are additionally dealing with prices of “establishing and leading an extremist organization.” The pair had beforehand been charged for publicly encouraging individuals to take part in mass occasions that, prosecutors say, jeopardized nationwide safety.

“We and the defense of Maria and Maxim are sure: this is an exclusively political persecution. The accusations have no legal basis,” Babariko’s allies stated.

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Belarusian President Lukashenko says he’ll leave office when ‘peace and order’ is restored, promises to hold ‘open election’ Belarusian President Lukashenko says he’ll leave office when ‘peace and order’ is restored, promises to hold ‘open election’

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Kolesnikova was a part of a trio of ladies who led rallies throughout the nation within the run-up to Belarus’ presidential election final summer time, and is the one considered one of them who remains to be within the nation. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who stood because the candidate in opposition to Lukashenko, has since fled to neighboring Lithuania and is working with EU leaders to sanction her native nation. The third lady, Veronika Tsepkalo, first left for Moscow and later moved along with her household to Latvia.

However, Kolesnikova reportedly tore up her passport and threw it from the window of a car to keep away from efforts to deport her to Ukraine. Instead, she was arrested and has been jailed since September final 12 months.

Mass protests broke out in Belarus in August, when Lukashenko declared he had been re-elected as president in a ballot that the opposition, and lots of worldwide observers, say was rigged. Hundreds of 1000’s of individuals have taken to the streets since then to demand a brand new vote.

Lukashenko has repeatedly stated he won’t stand down or name new elections till a brand new structure is in place. However, on Thursday, he stated that his “main condition for leaving power is peace and order in the country and no protests.” The structure, he says, will probably be prepared inside a 12 months.

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