Belarus Opposition Leader Kolesnikova Charged With National Security Threat

Member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council Maria Kolesnikova was charged with calling for actions that threaten the national security of Belarus, the Belarusian Investigative Committee reported.

On 16 September, investigators brought charges against Maria Kolesnikova under section 3, article 361 (public calls for actions aimed at threatening the national security of the Republic of Belarus, committed using the media and the internet) of the criminal code of the Republic of Belarus.

maria kolesnikova criminal case

“She’s in custody. The investigation is ongoing,” said the Investigative Committee.

Maria Kolesnikova was reportedly abducted by unidentified men in the center of Minsk on the morning of 7 September. Next day state media reported that she had been arrested at the border with Ukraine. According to her colleagues Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov, Belarusian officials allegedly tried to force her out of the country, but she tore up her passport and refused to leave.

On 8 September, reports emerged that Kolesnikova was detained and placed in remand facility No. 1 in Minsk as a suspect in a criminal case. On 10 September, Kolesnikova filed a complaint against KGB officers and the Interior Ministry’s Main Directorate for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption for “kidnapping” and “death threats”.

On 12 September, she was transferred to a detention center in Zhodino, her lawyer said. Recall that on 20 August, the then Belarus Prosecutor General Alexander Konyuk stated that a criminal case was initiated against the Coordination Council members. They were accused of establishing a political body to seize power and threatening the national security of Belarus.