Belarusian Activist Kolesnikova Again Transferred From Hospital to Prison After Surgery
In Belarus, Maria Kolesnikova (40) was again transferred from the hospital to prison after surgery. Kolesnikova is serving an 11-year prison sentence for her role in organizing demonstrations against President Lukashenko and his government.
Her father was able to visit her for 10 minutes. She looked weak, “but her mood is good, and she even tried to laugh,” he told the American news agency AP (Associated Press). Then, according to him, she was operated on for an ulcer. After the operation, Kolesnikova was returned to prison, serving an 11-year sentence.
Maria Kolesnikova was a figurehead of the protest demonstrations that gripped Belarus for months following the August 2020 elections that saw Aleksandr Lukashenko, who has been in power for 28 years, re-elected as president. The opposition, as well as governments in the West, rejected that result as totally unreliable. Under the leadership of Svetlana Tichanovskaya, the main opposition candidate, Belarusians took to the streets en masse, but there were also mass arrests.
Tikhanovskaya fled abroad. Kolesnikova was driven to the border with Ukraine by the security services. The agents wanted to deport her from the country, but Kolesnikova tore up her passport and walked back into Belarusian territory to be arrested. She was convicted of conspiracy and threatening state security in September last year.
The international human rights organization International Society for Human Rights asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus last week to allow independent doctors to see Kolesnikova, her father, and her lawyer visits her in the hospital.
According to the human rights organization, about 1,400 political prisoners, including Kolesnikova, are in a penal colony 300 kilometres from the capital Minsk. It sounds like they hardly receive food or medical care and have to count on help from relatives. The prisoners also have to endure physical and psychological torture.