Presidential wannabe Tsikhanouskaya: ‘They threatened to jail me, take kids away’

Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya has received an anonymous call on Tuesday. An unknown person threatened to take away her children, the woman told TUT.BY.

At the moment, Svyatlana is visiting the Belarusian city of Homiel.

“I am in Homiel, I have arrived in the city to start submitting signatures collected in my support [to the local election commission]. And when being at the door of one of administrative buildings, I got that call,” she said.

Someone launched threats against the family and warned Svyatlana against continuing the trip.

“It sounded like a warning, something like this was voiced: ‘you’d better cut your visit short because you might be jailed and your children taken away,'” Tsikhanouskaya stressed.

According to her, they called from a foreign number, and she did not manage to record the conversation.

“I am facing a dilemma: my children or further struggle. I think the choice I’ll make is obvious. I ask you to bear with me on any decision. I want to say that if Syarhei were at liberty, he would tell you not to give up,” she added.

The wannabe presidential candidate has not yet made a final decision on the withdrawal from the election race. The day before, Tsikhanouskaya said her initiative group had collected 100,000 signatures for her nomination for presidency.

Over the last three weeks, thousands of people throughout the country have been lining up to put their signatures for ‘any on the list but for the incumbent president’. Especially large queues formed after popular vlogger Syarhei Tsikhanouski, a trustee and husband of Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, had been detained in late May.

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In May, Syarhei Tsikhanouski, the author of Youtube channel Страна Для Жизни ( A Country for Life), revealed his presidential ambitions while serving a 15-day jail term for participating in unauthorised mass events.

However, the Belarusian Central Election Commission refused to register his initiative group. According to them, only a person who intends to campaign for the presidency must sign the documents.As Syarhei Tsikhanouski was in custody at that moment, all the necessary documents were signed and filed by his wife. On the back of the situation, Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya managed to get her initiative group registered instead.

On May 29, the police arrested Syarhei Tsikhanouski, head of his wife’s nomination group, and at least 15 persons during a peaceful picket in Hrodna. It should be noted that one of the women (Alena K.) who showed up at the picket attempted to stir up a conflict with Tsikhanouski, which resulted in pushing and jostling. According to the official version, one policeman fell down and had to be taken to hospital. On May 30, the Interior Ministry initiated criminal investigation into an alleged act of violence against two police officers.

The police searched the homes of the most of the detainees; some were transferred to Minsk remand prison #1.

Later, the Belarusian Investigative Committee stated that Syarhei Tsikhanouski and seven other persons were charged under Art. 342-1 (planning actions that grossly violate public order) of the Criminal Code of Belarus. The above article may carry a punishment of up to 3 years in prison.

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