The Citizen (KZN)
Opposition leader held
– One of Belarus’ leading opposition figures has been detained while trying to cross into Ukraine, Belarusian border officials said yesterday.
Maria Kolesnikova was detained while attempting to cross overnight with two other members of the opposition’s Coordination Council who were able to pass through to Ukraine, Anton Bychkovsky, a spokesman for the state border committee, said.
She and the two other council members, press secretary Anton Rodnenkov and executive secretary Ivan Kravtsov, disappeared on Monday. Bychkovsky said Rodnenkov and Kravtsov were able to cross into Ukraine and the Ukrainian embassy in Minsk confirmed they were in the country.
Kolesnikova was being held and “an investigation is under way to legally assess the situation”, Bychkovsky said.
State news agency Belta quoted border officials as saying the three had tried to cross the border in a BMW car around 4am.
The Coordination Council was set up to ensure a peaceful transfer of power after President Alexander Lukashenko’s main rival, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, rejected his claim to have won a 9 August presidential election with 80% of the vote. The disputed election has sparked widespread protests and a police crackdown. – AFP