Belarus sentences its opposition activists to long years in prison

A court in Belarus has sentenced two leading Belarusian opposition figures Maria Kolesnikova and Maxim Znak to long prison terms. Exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has called them not guilty and called for their release, British broadcaster BBC reports.
On Monday, September 9, the court found Kolesnikova and Znak guilty of crimes including plotting to seize power, threatening national security and extremism. Both activists denied the charges against them and denounced the trial as a sham. Their lawyers stated that they would appeal against the verdict.
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Musician and the organiser of political rallies and protests Maria Kolesnikova was jailed for 11 years. Lawyer Maxim Znak, who joined Kolesnikova in the Coordination Council for the Transfer of Power after the 2020 Belarusian election, received 10 years.
Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya called for the immediate release of Kolesnikova and Znak, who she evaluated «aren’t guilty of anything». «It’s terror against Belarusians who dare to stand up to the regime,» Tikhanovskaya wrote on Twitter, BBC reports. «We won’t stop until everybody is free in Belarus.»