Belarus has taken legal action against senior opposition figures, including Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
The Investigative Commission of Belarus, a state-run law enforcement agency, accused Tsikhanouskaya and other opposition figures have participated in mass riots, incited social hatred, conspired to seize power, and founded extremist organizations, among other things.
Tsikhanouskaya, who ran against Alexander Lukashenko in the fraudulent 2020 presidential election before being forced to flee Belarus amid a brutal crackdown on the Kremlin-backed opposition, now lives in exile.
Tsikhanouskaya was in Brussels this month for meetings with EU leaders and is establishing a permanent mission in Brussels, as part of a move to legitimize his government-in-waiting and present him as a credible alternative to Lukashenko. in power for a long time.
The lawsuit “is outrageous”, a spokesperson for Tsikhanouskaya told POLITICO on Friday. “They first imprisoned her husband, then they forced her to leave the country. Now they are indicting him for absolutely ridiculous crimes.
In December 2021, a Belarusian court sentenced Tsikhanouskaya’s husband, Sergei, to 18 years in prison for inciting hatred and social unrest. The video blogger was arrested in May 2020 as he prepared to run for president against Lukashenko – and it was after his detention that Tsikhanouskaya ran for office instead.
“It’s definitely personal revenge, but it’s also an acknowledgment of her power. The regime – and Lukashenko personally – are terrified that this woman will come back and kick their ass,” said Tsikhanouskaya’s spokesman.