1 Dec 2022 20:54

EU concerned by Kolesnikova's health condition after Belarusian opposition activist ends up in intensive care

BRUSSELS. Dec 1 (Interfax) - The European Union is closely watching how the authorities in Belarus are treating political prisoners, including opposition activist Maria Kolesnikova, Peter Stano, a spokesperson for EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell, said.

"The reports about her health situation are very worrying. It is extremely important that she is provided with urgent medical attention and care that her situation requires," Stano said at a briefing in Brussels on Thursday.

The EU urges Belarusian authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of Kolesnikova, he said. "She should be released immediately, and this is a case for all other political prisoners," the spokesman said.

By way of a reaction to the situation in Belarus, the EU had imposed a series of sanctions against individuals and organizations, he recalled. More persons could be added to the list for actions targeting their own population, Stano said.

According to unconfirmed reports, Kolesnikova, who is serving a prison sentence in Gomel, was hospitalized with a ruptured ulcer and was in critical condition after undergoing surgery, said a report citing the press service for former Belarusian presidential candidate Viktor Babariko.

According to the same source, Kolesnikova's lawyer has been barred from seeing her since November 17.

Kolesnikova headed Viktor Babariko's campaign staff during the 2020 presidential election campaign in Belarus. Following Babariko's arrest, she became a representative of Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya's campaign staff. Kolesnikova also became one of the leaders of the mass opposition protests against the outcome of the August 9, 2020 presidential elections won by Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in office since 1994. She was detained on September 8, 2020 and was subsequently sentenced to 11 years in prison.