The opposition leader of Belarus says he was threatened with expulsion ‘alive or in bits’

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Belarus opposition politician Maria Kolnikova said security officials put a bag over her head and threatened to kill her when they forcibly arrested her earlier this week, according to a complaint filed by her lawyer on Thursday Tried to send to Ukraine.

Kolesnikova, one of the most prominent leaders of the month-old protest against President Alexander Lukashenko’s re-election, stopped her attempt to expel him by tearing down her passport.

He has emerged as a hero for the protest movement trying to cover up Lucasenko’s 26-year rule, and a main target for officials who have accused him of an illegal attempt to seize power in the former Soviet republic Detained them.

She said in her statement that she feared her life during the failed deportation attempt.

“In particular it was said that if I did not voluntarily leave the Republic of Belarus, I would be taken out alive or in bits by any means. I was also threatened with imprisonment for 25 years, ”said Kolenikova.

He was told that he would have “problems” while he was kept in guard or prison.

“People indicated (security officers) posed threats to my life and health, which I felt were real,” he said.

News portal Tut.By said that his lawyer Lyudmila Kazak filed a criminal complaint against Belarusian authorities, including the KGB security police, threatening kidnapping, illegal detention and murder.

The complaint was submitted to the state inquiry committee. Asked for comment, a representative of the committee, Sergei Kabkovic, said: “At the present time I have no information about this.”

FILE PHOTO: Politician and Coordinating Council Representative Maria Kolesnikova for members of the Belarusian opposition attended a press conference on August 24, 2020 in Minsk, Belarus. REUTERS / Vasily Fedosenko

Name and run

Kolenikova’s complaint included the names and ranks of the individual officers of the KGB and the organized crime agency whom she accused of threatening her, and said that she would be able to identify them.

He is now being held in the capital Minsk, where Kazak said he was being questioned on Thursday. Kazak saw his client on Wednesday at a Practical Detention Center, and said he had bruises on his body.

Lukashenko denied rigging in the August 9 election, the official results of which said he won by a landslide, and took stern action against protesters demanding his resignation. He refused to talk to the opposition, saying it was bent on ruining the country.

Inaugurating a new chief prosecutor on Thursday, Lukashenko repeated his unmodified line.

“Power is not given, thrown away and left”, he said, adding that the country should not return to the 1990s after the break-up of the Soviet Union.

He asked prosecutors to take more decisive action against the opposition network, using several Telegram instant messaging channels to organize demonstrations, which he admitted were widely spread through workplaces.

“Efforts are being made to seize power,” he said. “You will have to adopt a more powerful, faster prosecution response to such actions.”

In the month following the disputed election, nearly all of the opposition’s prominent leaders were arrested, fled, or forced to leave the country. Rights group Vesna (Spring) published a list of 58 people, described as political detainees, with details of their arrest.

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The 2015 Nobel Prize-winning author in literature Svetlana Alexević on Wednesday accused the authorities of terrorizing her own people. Diplomats from seven European countries came to her flat to try to protect her.

Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, has retained the support of his key ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin. The West has so far been cautious about firm action provoking a Russian crackdown, although the European Union is preparing a list of Belarusian authorities to target with sanctions.

Anton Rodnankov, an opposition member who was expelled in Ukraine this week, was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying: “Lukashenko will resign … If it happens in October or November of this year, we would be pleased.”

Reporting by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Toby Chopra and Philip Fletcher

Our standard:Thomson Reuters Trust Principals.

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