Imprisoned opposition activist Maryia Kalesnikava denied release on bail

Belarusian investigators refused to release opposition Coordination Council member Maryia Kalesnikava on bail.

Moreover, her being in custody was extended to January, 8, defence lawyer Lyudmila Kazak told news agency TASS on Friday.

According to the lawyer, the authorities ruled out the option of Kalesnikava’s being placed under house arrest as well. Ms Kazak is going to appeal for the release of her client on her own recognizance not to leave the country.

Maryia Kalesnikava says no to proposal to meet with Lukashenka – lawyer

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“They warned that if I did not voluntarily leave the territory of the Republic of Belarus, I would still be withdrawn – ‘alive or ‘in pieces’,” Maryia said.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. She was taken to prison in Minsk; later, she was transferred to the detention centre in Zhodzina.

In mid September, Kalesnikava was charged under Art. 361-3 of the Criminal Code (‘calling for actions aimed at harming the national security with the use of mass media and the Internet’). She may face up to five years in jail. Belarusian human rights defenders put her on the political prisoners’ list that includes 121 names at the moment.

Kalesnikava wants to bring to justice KGB officers who voiced death threats