Belarus Protest Leader Kolesnikova Goes On Trial
Faizan Hashmi 1 month ago Wed 04th August 2021 | 03:08 PM
Maria Kolesnikova, the last remaining protest leader still in Belarus, went on trial on Wednesday after 10 months in custody as the regime of Alexander Lukashenko seeks to crush all dissent
Moscow (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 4th Aug, 2021 ) :Maria Kolesnikova, the last remaining protest leader still in Belarus, went on trial on Wednesday after 10 months in custody as the regime of Alexander Lukashenko seeks to crush all dissent.
In power since 1994, Lukashenko has been cracking down on opponents since unprecedented protests erupted after last year's elections, deemed unfair by the West.
Together with opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and another campaign partner, Veronika Tsepkalo, Kolesnikova led last summer's rallies against Lukashenko.
The pair are accused of undermining national security, conspiring to seize power and creating an extremist group.
They face up to 12 years in prison if convicted.
She also made a heart-shaped symbol with her hands, which she often did at protest rallies.
Kolesnikova is the only protest leader still in Belarus. Tikhanovskaya, who stood for president in place of her jailed husband, was forced out of the country and granted refuge in EU member Lithuania. Tsepkalo also left Belarus.
Kolesnikova and Znak had previously worked for presidential hopeful Viktor Babaryko, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison on fraud charges last month.
She has urged the West to toughen sanctions against Lukashenko's regime, and met with US President Joe Biden last week and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday.