Tikhanovskaya and Kolesnikova were prosecuted for creation of an extremist group

The General Prosecutor’s Office of Belarus opened a criminal case against the ex-presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya a > and other oppositionists on the creation of an extremist group, BelTA informs.

In addition to Tikhanovskaya, a case was initiated against Maria Kolesnikova and Olga Kovalkova , former Minister of Culture Pavel Latushko , head of the MTZ strike committee Sergei Dylevsky and lawyer Maxim Znak. All of them are on the Presidium of the Opposition Coordination Council.

In addition, a case was initiated against a number of citizens for financing an extremist group.

On August 9, presidential elections were held in Belarus. Former head of Belgazprombank Viktor Babariko , who collected signatures for nomination as a candidate, was arrested yet in June on charges of withdrawing hundreds of millions of dollars abroad. His campaign headquarters was headed by Kolesnikova.

Another contender for the highest government post, founder of the Hi-Tech Park Valery Tsepkalo was not registered as a candidate and left the country after Ministry of Internal Affairs began a pre-investigation check of his activities. As a result, the headquarters of Babariko and Tsepkalo supported the candidacy of Tikhanovskaya, the wife of the arrested blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky .

After the elections, CEC announced that running for a sixth term Alexander Lukashenko got 80 percent of the vote, Tikhanovskaya – 10 percent. This sparked massive protests across the country that have lasted for four months.

In early September, unknown persons put Kolesnikova into a minibus in the center of Minsk and drove away in an unknown direction. The next day, the authorities announced that she tried to flee to Ukraine, but was detained. Kolesnikova said that the security forces threatened to take her out of Belarus “in parts” and she had to tear her passport to stay at home.