Treatment in intensive care: Kolesnikova should be released from the clinic

Treatment in intensive care unit
Kolesnikova should be released from the clinic

Belarusian opposition leader Kolesnikova is serving the remainder of her 11-year prison sentence in solitary confinement. Shortly after the transfer, she is admitted to a hospital. Nobody knows why she is there in the intensive care unit. Now she should be better.

The Belarusian opposition activist Maria Kolesnikova, who has been sentenced to a long prison term, is scheduled to leave the hospital on Monday after treatment in the intensive care unit. This was announced by the Belarusian opposition, citing their father Alexander Kolesnikov, who met the doctor of political prisoners. Maria had breakfast and felt normal, Kolesnikov said. It was still unclear why the country’s most prominent prisoner had to be treated in intensive care.

Opponents of ruler Alexander Lukashenko complained that the lawyer still had no access to Kolesnikova and that there was no reliable information about her condition. She is said to have had surgery this week. The father only saw the doctors, but not his daughter herself. Kolesnikova had previously been placed in solitary confinement as punishment. A judge had rejected a complaint against the particularly harsh solitary confinement.

Kolesnikova, together with the opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya, who lives in exile in the EU country Lithuania, is considered a figurehead of the Belarusian opposition to Lukashenko. The two led nationwide protests in 2020 against the disputed presidential election in which Lukashenko declared himself the winner. He had the police and the judiciary crack down on demonstrators. Kolesnikova was arrested in the summer of 2020 and sentenced to eleven years in prison for conspiracy to subvert. The trial, like that against other Lukashenko opponents, was considered a political staging.

Baerbock criticized Minsk

The International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) denounced the situation of political prisoners in Belarus as “catastrophic”. In a statement, she called for independent doctors to have access to the detained Kolesnikova. According to ISHR, there are currently around 1,400 political prisoners in Belarus.

The IGFM appealed to the Foreign Office to work for independent doctors and specialists to have access to Kolesnikova. In addition, the father and the lawyer should be able to visit her. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that the regime in Minsk had to guarantee Kolesnikova’s health and release her. “Your commitment to democracy is not a crime,” Baerbock said in her tweet.

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