Imprisoned Belarusian opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova “in intensive care” | Belarus
Imprisoned Belarusian opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova has been admitted to intensive care and has undergone surgery, her allies said.
“Maria is in the emergency hospital in Gomel, in the intensive care unit,” said the press service of Viktor Babariko, another opposition politician.
Kolesnikova’s father, Alexander Kolesnikov, said his daughter was in serious but stable condition. Doctors did not share her diagnosis or other details about the surgery with him, Kolesnikov said.
He noted that his daughter seemed energetic and cheerful when he last visited her in prison about a month ago.
Kolesnikova’s lawyer said she was placed in a punishment cell before being taken to the hospital. He did not provide details on her condition.
The lawyer said authorities have repeatedly refused his requests to see Kolesnikova at the prison where she is being held.
Kolesnikova was one of a trio of female leaders – with Veronika Tsepkalo and Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya – who led historic demonstrations against Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko in 2020. Mass rallies broke out in Belarus against Lukashenko’s bid for a sixth presidential term.
Kolesnikova was sentenced to 11 years in prison after resisting deportation from Belarus. In September 2020, the country’s security services, the KGB, took her to the Ukrainian border after putting a sack over her head and pushing her into a van, but at the border Kolesnikova tore up her passport so she could not be deported.
Lukashenko’s crackdown on protests has led to thousands of arrests and the forced exile or imprisonment of activists and journalists.
“What terrible news. Our dear Masha, we all hope you will get better!” said Tsikhanovskaya, an exiled opposition leader. Kolesnikova, 40, is the only one of the three women still in Belarus.
With the Associated Press and AFP
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