Kolsnikova and another opposition activist, Maxim Snick, were charged with extremism and plotting to “seize state power in an unconstitutional manner” during an investigation into the Belgian state media, Belda, in the capital, Minsk.
Snook, a key member of the Coordinating Council formed by opponents of Lukashenko’s dictatorial government, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Kolsnikova, who has become a musician and activist, was one of three women to launch an opposition campaign against Lukashenko after the main opposition male candidates were banned from running in the presidential election last year.
The trio are the face of an opposition movement that sent tens of thousands of Belarusians to the streets demanding political change during the country’s election. Protesters and independent observers accused Lukashenko of voting to extend his 27-year rule.
Kolsnikova was arrested last September and taken to the border, where he was ordered to leave the country. Instead, he allegedly tore up his passport, which he refused to deport.
Opposition candidate Dikanovskaya fled to neighboring Lithuania with her children after she was locked out of the election with her husband after the preliminary election results gave Lukashenko a landslide victory.
Dikanovskaya called Kolsnikova and Snook “heroes for the Belarusians.”
“The regime wants us to see them crushed and exhausted. But look – they are laughing. They know – we will release them for these 11 years. Their terms should not scare us – Maxim and Maria want it,” he added. Opposition leaders also shared a video of him standing in a glass cage in front of him.
The United States and several European countries have issued statements condemning the court ruling and their continued efforts to suppress opposition to the government.
Unfortunately, these statements are further evidence of the regime’s total disregard for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Belarus. “And said:” Embarrassed.
Last month, on the one-year anniversary of the Belarusian election, President Joe Biden issued a comprehensive executive order targeting members of the Belarusian regime involved in the suppression of human rights and democracy. On Monday, Blinken reiterated the order and “reiterated the Biden administration’s call for a real dialogue with members of civil society and Belarusian authorities, leading to free and fair elections with international oversight.”
Germany on Monday pledged to increase pressure on the Belarusian regime and called on government spokesman Stephen Seibert to dismiss the ruling as “unfair” unless it changes its position on civil rights. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Robb says Belarus has detained two members of the opposition in a bid to secure democracy and independence. The European Union (EU) has demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Maria Kolsnikova and Maxim Snook.
“Internet addiction at stations. Award-winning beer expert. Travel expert. General researcher.”
“Explorer. Devoted travel specialist. Web expert. Organizer. Social media geek. Coffee enthusiast. Extreme troublemaker. Food trailblazer. Total bacon buff.”