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

Maryia Kalesnikava, a member of the board of the opposition Coordination Council (CC), has applied for opening a criminal case against Belarusian officials and officers who exerted psychological pressure and threatened her.

“The persons voiced threats to take my life, which I could not be dismissive of. In particular, they stated that if I did not voluntarily leave the territory of the Republic of Belarus, I would still be withdrawn – ‘alive or ‘in pieces’. There were also threats to imprison me for up to 25 years, to spell troubles for me in detention centres and jails, which I could not be dismissive either,” she stressed in the appeal filed to the Investigative Committee.

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 ou 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.

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On September 8, CC 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 at the border, she destroyed her passport, jumped out of the car and returned to the Belarusian border.

“After the KGB officers realised that I would not leave Belarus of my own volition, they put a bag on my head, pushed me into a minibus and took me to the Belarusian-Ukrainian border (checkpoint Alyaksandrauka), where they were trying to forcibly expel me from the Republic of Belarus. After I tore up my passport, aiming to deprive myself of the opportunity to enter the territory of Ukraine, I was again placed in a minibus and driven to the premises of Mazyr border detachment,” Kalesnikava said.

According to the opposition activist, a number of criminal offenses were committed against her, namely: kidnapping (Art. 182 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus), illegal imprisonment (Art. 183), murder threats (Art. 186).

Now Maryia Kalesnikava is being held in prison #1 in Minsk. She is a suspect in a criminal case on public calls for actions aimed at causing damage to national security (Art. 361-3 of the Criminal Code), initiated by the General Prosecutor’s Office. On September 10, Belarusian human rights defenders included her in the list of political prisoners; to date, there being 58 names on it.

Maryia Kalesnikava in Minsk jail