4 Mar 2022 13:30

Criminal case opened in Belarus against opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

MINSK. March 4 (Interfax) - A criminal case has been opened against Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the Belarusian Prosecutor General's Office said.

"The Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Belarus has opened a criminal case against Svetlana Tikhanovskaya based on Part 3 of Article 361 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus," the Prosecutor General's Office said on Friday.

The agency suspects Tikhanovskaya of "having recorded and published on sites of the video hosting channel YouTube and the messenger Telegram a video with public calls for the commission of acts of terrorism and sabotage, high treason, and the commission of other actions aimed at harming the national security of the Republic of Belarus, acting with other unidentified persons, no later than March 2, 2022."

"To organize a preliminary investigation, the criminal case was sent to the Investigative Committee of the Republic of Belarus," the Prosecutor General's Office said.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya ran in the presidential election in August 2020 after the Belarusian Central Elections Commission denied registration to the campaign of her husband Sergei Tikhanovsky. Alexander Lukashenko, who has served as president of Belarus since 1994, was declared the winner again. The opposition refused to recognize the official election results, claiming that they were falsified. Mass protests continued in the country for more than half a year. The protesters demanded Lukashenko's resignation, the release of political prisoners, and a new election. The protests gradually subsided after being toughly suppressed by Belarusian security forces, and there have only been some sporadic and local demonstrations lately. Tikhanovskaya has left the country.

The European Union and the United States do not recognize Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus, and sanctions have been imposed on the country. A number of EU countries have recognized Tikhanovskaya as leader of the Belarusian opposition forces.

The Belarusian State Security Committee has put Tikhanovskaya, member of the Belarusian opposition's Coordinating Council Pavel Latushko, and 15 other people on the list of organizations and individuals involved in terrorist activities.