Thursday, February 25, 2021

Belarusian opposition leaders may stay in jail longer

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Belarusian authorities have made new allegations against two opposition leaders. Their lawyers say politicians have been accused of extremism and attempting to seize power.

The charges against Maria Kolesnikova and Maxim Znak are punishable by up to 12 years in prison. Kolesnikova was one of three women leaders who joined the opposition after last year’s presidential election.

The wave of protests in Belarus has not stopped since the August elections. More than 33,000 people were arrested during this period. President Alexander Lukashenko has no plans to resign. Western countries have imposed sanctions on his government, but the Lukashenko regime is backed by diplomatic and financial support from the Kremlin.

Lawyer Dmitry Laevsky says Maxim Znak is being punished for “not being afraid, not giving up.” “There is no legal basis for any of these allegations,” the lawyer said.

Lukashenko has ruled the country since 1994. On Thursday, he called the so-called. He convened a People’s Assembly, which the opposition sees as a farce, and promised to hold a referendum on constitutional reform next year. However, it was also said that Lukashenko is the “savior” of the country. The next day, the president called on citizens to give up their smartphones because they said they were “controlled by the United States.”

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Belarusian opposition leaders may stay in jail longer