Terror in Belarus: long jail terms for two opposition figuresPublished: Sep 7, 2021 Reading time: 1 minute
People in Need, one of the largest human right NGOs in the Czech Republic, expresses its concern over the jailing of two leading opposition figures Maryya Kalesnikova and Maxim Znak. They both have been jailed for 14 and 11 years, respectively, for "trying to threaten national security and seize power".
Prosecutors accused Kalesnikova and Znak of "trying to stage a coup" after they both had joined an opposition council following the country´s 2020's disputed presidential elections. They both deny the charges and denounce the trial as a sham. Their lawyers stated they would definitely appeal against the verdict.
Following the 2020 elections, Belarusian authorities crashed down hard on all those who expressed their discontent. Thousands of protesters were arrested, hundreds tortured, at least 620 remain in custody to-day awaiting trial, including three activists of the Belarusian human rights organization Viasna Leanid Sudalenka, Tatsiana Lasits and Maryia Tarasenka.