Mary Kalesnikawa and Maksim Znak were brought before a court in Minsk on Wednesday. Famous activists worked in the staffs of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s opponents during last year’s presidential elections. The process takes place behind closed doors. Even their relatives were not admitted to the trial.
Maria Kalesnikawa and Maksim Znak have been held in custody since September 2020. They were employees of the staff of the former banker Viktar Babaryka, who was not allowed to run in the elections in August 2020, and this year he was sentenced to 14 years in a penal colony for alleged financial embezzlement.
The Belarusian section of Radio Svoboda informed that the trial was held behind closed doors and that Kalesnikawa and Znak’s relatives were not admitted to the trial. On Bababryka’s Twitter account, a video of Mary’s father who came to the courthouse with flowers was published. He handed them to the defenders of his daughter, whom he could not personally see and support. Before the trial, lawyers announced that they would apply for the trial to be declassified.
In the composition of the Coordination Council
After Babaryka’s arrest (in June last year), both oppositionists joined the team of the presidential candidate Swiatłana Cichanouska, and after her forced emigration abroad, they joined the presidium of the opposition Coordination Council.
Kalesnikawa was detained on September 7 last year and – according to witnesses – attempts were made to force her to leave for Ukraine, which she frustrated by destroying her passport. The sign was seized on September 9. They were both accused of calls to act to the detriment of national security, collusion to seize power in the country, and the creation of an extremist organization. They face imprisonment for up to 12 years.
Kalesnikawa and Znak were considered political prisoners. In total, there are now 605 prisoners of conscience in Belarus, inform human rights activists. Mary Kalesnikawa was also a laureate of the International Jan Karski Prize
Main photo source: Reuters