Verdict expected in trial of Belarusian opposition activist Kolesnikova

Photo: AP

The verdict of the internationally criticized trial of Belarusian opposition activist Maria Kolesnikova is expected on Monday, dpa reported. She was a key force in leading demonstrations last year after large parts of society disputed an election win by President Alexander Lukashenko, leading to months of violent protests.

The 39-year-old was arrested during the protests and faces up to 12 years in prison, as does the attorney Maxim Snak, who was also charged.

Kolesnikova had worked as a cultural manager in Stuttgart for many years. Before the presidential election in August 2020, she was working as manager for the former banker Viktor Babariko, who was also imprisoned.

Kolesnikova was abducted by the KGB secret service in Minsk in early September 2020. Government officials attempted to deport her about a month after the protests started, but she tore up her passport at the Ukrainian border rather than being forced to leave the country.

The trial against her started at the beginning of August. The German government has repeatedly called for her release.

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