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

Maryia Kalesnikava. Photo:

Imprisoned opposition activist Maryia Kalesnikava refused to be present at the meeting with Alyaksandr Lukashenka, her defense lawyer Alyaksandr Pylchanka told Russian radio station Echo of Moscow on Tuesday.

According to him, two men visited Maryia last Friday and asked her whether she wanted to have a talk with Lukashenka.

“There is no point in talking now. A month and a half ago we urged [the authorities] to put an end to all these things [arrests and police abuse]; by the moment, each [member of the board of the opposition Coordination Council] has been placed in custody or forced out of the country. Besides, you failed to introduce yourselves. And I had more than enough – I was being taken around Belarus for a day and a half and I was not informed of my whereabouts. People should name their names and tell me who they are and where they are going to take me to so that I would not be afraid to go with them. I prefer being calm in Zhodzina remand prison to travelling in the company of strangers,” the attorney quoted Maryia.

Lukashenka goes to prison for talks

On October 10, Alyaksandr Lukashenka arrived at the KGB detention centre and held a meeting with arrested representatives of the Coordination Council and the joint headquarters of the opposition presidential candidates. The meeting lasted almost five hours. They discussed the possibility of stopping protests and civil society representatives joining the work on the new Constitution. The authorities promised to hold new presidential elections in Belarus after the new Constitution was adopted.

The conversation was attended by at least 12 people, including Lukashenka’s might-have-been election opponent Viktar Babaryka, his son Eduard Babaryka, arrested political technologist Vitaly Shklyarau, lawyer Liliya Ulasava.

A day later, two arrestees – Yury Vaskrasenski (member of initiative group collecting signatures for Viktar Babaryka) and Dzmitry Rabtsevich (CEO of IT company PandaDoc) – were released and placed under house arrest.

Two political prisoners released in wake of Lukashenka’s visit to KGB prison