Belarus: opponent Maria Kolesnikova sentenced to 11 years in prison

The European Union denounced the country’s “blatant disregard” for human rights.

The phrase illustrates the repression aimed at any opposition to the Alexander Lukashenko regime. Belarusian justice sentenced on Monday 6 September Maria Kolesnikova, one of the leading figures of the 2020 summer protest, to eleven years in prison. actions that compromise national security “and the” creation of an extremist formation,” according to the press office of Viktor Babaryko, another imprisoned opponent for whom she had worked.

His co-accused, attorney Maxime Znak, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The trial of the two opponents, imprisoned for 11 months, began in early August and was held behind closed doors, so few details were leaked, especially as most independent media, NGOs and opposition movements suffered relentless repression for months . Defense attorneys were also banned from talking about the content of the case.

Opposition presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya reacted on Twitter to the verdict, asking “the immediate release of Maria and Maxime”. “It’s about terrorizing Belarusians who oppose the regime”, she denounced. The European Union also criticized the “blatant disrespect” of Belarus for human rights. In a statement, the EU reiterated its call for release “immediate and unconditional of all political prisoners”.

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