When studying the materials of the criminal case against opposition activist and Coordination Council member Maryia Kalesnikava, her defence lawyers came to the conclusion that the accusation did not comply with the law, the team of the imprisoned might-have-been presidential candidate Viktar Babaryka reports.
According to the lawyers, the charge failed to meet the Criminal Procedural Code provisions which are noted in Part 1 of Article 241, and Article 89.
“To put it simply, the accusation is not specific, it does not contain the necessary information required by the law, which does not allow Maryia to defend herself,” they said.
The defence filed a corresponding complaint to the Investigative Committee; the agency is bound to provide a response within 10 days.
In mid May, the Investigative Committee ruled that Maryia Kalesnikava would be tried for ‘calling for actions aimed at harming the national security (Art. 361-3 of the Criminal Code); conspiracy to seize state power in an unconstitutional way (Article 357-1); establishing and ruling an extremist group (Article 361-1).
If found guilty under these articles, Kalesnikava may face up to 12 years in prison.
On September 7, Maryia Kalesnikava was kidnapped near the National Art Museum in Minsk. Unidentified people drove her away in an unknown direction. As it turned out later, the politician spent half a day in the Main Directorate for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption; then she was taken to the State Security Committee (KGB), where the chekists demanded she voluntarily depart from Belarus. According to her, several KGB officers voiced threats to take her life.
“They warned that if I did not voluntarily leave the territory of the Republic of Belarus, I would still be withdrawn – ‘alive or ‘in pieces’,” Maryia said.
On September 8, Coordination Council spokesman Anton Radnyankou and secretary Ivan Krautsou who were forced out of Belarus gave a press conference in Kyiv. They told how the KGB failed to push Kalesnikava out the country. In the neutral zone, she destroyed her passport, jumped out of the car and returned to the Belarusian border.
In December, the Prosecutor General’s Office launched criminal proceedings over conspiring, establishing ‘an extremist group’, being in control of it, financing its activities against members of the Coordination Council, including Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Maryia Kalesnikava, Maksim Znak, Pavel Latushka, Volha Kavalkova, Syarhei Dyleuski, and other Belarusian activists.
In the run-up to International Women’s Day, the US Department of State announced the list of recipients of the 2021 International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award. Belarusian Maryia Kalesnikava is among this year’s laureates.