The opposition leader of Belarus says authorities threatened to expel him “alive or in pieces”

Moscow A prominent Belarusian opposition man on Thursday accused the country’s security forces of threatening his life Kidnapped him earlier this week In a statement issued by her lawyer. Maria Kolnikova, the only member of a trio of female opposition leaders who are still in Belarus, went missing on Monday.

Witnesses said the masked men pushed her into a minibus in central Minsk. After more than a day’s silence, government investigators announced that he had been detained – reportedly trying to flee to neighboring Ukraine – along with another opposition politician. He has been accused of harming national security and destabilizing the country.

Kolnikova, currently in government custody in Minsk, said officials of a state security service placed a bag over her head and threatened to kill her as they tried to force her to take him to Ukraine, her lawyer said Thursday Asked him after he went to jail.

Press conference by the coordination council of the Belarusian protests in Minsk
Maria Kolenikova, the head of Viktor Babrico’s election campaign office, attends a press conference given by the coordination council of the Belarusian opposition.

Natalia Fedosenko TASS via Getty Image

Kolsnikova, 38, has become a member of the opposition in Belarus, amidst contradictions in recent weeks, triggered by the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko, the ruling president of both countries, widely seen in August – rigged both within and outside the country In form of.

Lawyer Lyudmila Kazak said on Thursday that they were planning to file a complaint with the investigation committee. Kazak described Kolenikova’s kidnapping by security forces, claiming that she threatened to kill the politician or held him in prison for 25 years.

“Specifically, if I did not leave voluntarily, they said I would still be taken out of Belarus – alive or in pieces,” Kolenikova was quoted as saying in a statement provided by Kazak, who said his client Had received threats in real terms.

Kolenikova identified the individuals who threatened her as employees of the Belarusian KGB Intelligence Unit and the Ministry of the Interior’s Anticorruption and Organized Crime Unit. His supporters have said that he avoided tearing his passport during the ordeal and being expelled from Belarus.

Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, refused to step down. Often called the “last dictator of Europe”, he has blamed heavy protests against his rule over foreign arbitration, especially the US – and his security forces have violently attacked protesters.

Most figures of the leading opposition in Belarus ran out of prison, or were forced out of the country in the months before and after the disputed election.

Kolesnikova is a key member of the opposition’s coordination council, who follows the vote to enable a peaceful transfer of power after Lukashenko’s main challenger Svetlana Tikhonovskaya, rejecting her claim to win with 80% of the vote.

Under pressure from the authorities, Tikankovskaya left the country and was given asylum in Lithuania.

Nobel Prize-winning author Svetlana Alexević is still independent in Minsk, another member of the coordination council’s leadership. European diplomats were photographed entering her home for the second day in a row on Thursday – presumably to lend security to her appearance – after she said earlier this week that masked men tried to barge into her apartment Had.