September 25, 2021

Belarusian protest leader Kolesenkova sentenced to 11 years in prison

Issued:

A Belarussian court on Monday sentenced opposition leader Maria Kolesenkova – who led large-scale protests against President Alexander Lukashenko last year – to 11 years in prison on national security charges.

کولیسنکووا۔Maxim Zanak, a lawyer for one-time presidential candidate Viktor Babariko, whose campaign was organized by Kolesenkova, was also sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Kolesnikova is the only major leader of last year’s unprecedented demonstrations. Belarus. He has been in custody for a year after tearing up his passport and resisting forced deportation.

In power since 1994 Lukashenko He has been cracking down on opponents since the protests, which erupted when he claimed victory in a disputed election.

In a video from inside the court, shown by Russian media, Kolesenkova – who was handcuffed inside a defendant’s cage – made a heart-shaped symbol with her hands, which she often did at protest rallies.

She was smiling and her signature was wearing deep red lipstick.

“Dear spectators, we’re glad to see you,” Zinc, who was standing next to him, said in the video before reading the sentence.

Kolesnikova, 39, a former flutist in the country’s Philharmonic Orchestra, has become a symbol of protest in Belarus.

He was arrested last September when KGB agents put a sack on his head, pushed him into a minibus and took him to the Ukrainian border.

He allegedly jumped out of the car and resisted an attempt to throw her out of the country.

Kolesenkova was part of a trio of women, including opposition leader Svetlana Tekanoskaya and another campaign partner, Veronica Sepkalo, who led rallies against Belarus’ mustache leader last summer.

Tikhanovskaya – who stood for president in place of her imprisoned husband – and Tsepkalo both fled Belarus to EU countries.

Tikhanovskaya says she was the real winner of the August presidential vote.

(AFP)

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