A criminal case has been launched against Syarhei Tsikhanouski over ‘the facts of committing intended acts aimed at inciting social hatred as well as calling for violent and aggressive actions against law enforcement officers’, the Belarusian Investigative Committee said on Thursday.
In addition, another criminal case has been initiated against Mikalai Statkevich, Syarhei Tsikhanouski and other persons; they are accused of preparing for mass riots (Article 293 of the Criminal Code of Belarus). Taking into account the new charges, Tsikhanouski may face up to 12 years in prison.
According to the agency, the investigators trace the connection between the arrival of the detained Russian militants and Tsikhanouski’s activity.
“On 29 July, 33 citizens of the Russian Federation, members of Wagner private military company, who lived in the territory of the Belarusachka health centre in Minsk district, were detained on suspicion of committing the crime [preparation for mass riots],” the statement reads.
On Thursday, Andrey Raukou, Secretary of the Security Council, stated that more than 200 militants had come to Belarus to ‘destabilise the situation during the election campaign’.