Members of the Belarusian opposition's Coordination Council Maria Kolesnikova and Maksim Znak have been taken into custody as a measure of restraint.

The two have been confirmed as suspects in the criminal investigation into their "public calls for action to the detriment of national security," the country's Investigative Committee reported via Telegram.

Kolesnikova's lawyer Ilya Salei was also detained as a suspect in the same case.

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Detectives claim evidence has been obtained testifying to suspects committing "actions aimed at destabilizing the socio-political, economic and media situation in the country, causing harm to the national security of the Republic of Belarus."

It is emphasized that these actions were carried out through the use of media and internet resources.

Russia's RIA Novosti, citing Kolesnikova's father, reported that she could face imprisonment for a term of two to five years.

The last member of the seven-strong Coordination Council that has not yet fled, told to leave country, or been arrested, is Svetlana Aleksievich, a prominent Belarusian writer and Nobel prize winner. On September 9, European diplomats came to Aleksievich's home to try to protect her from the arrest.

"Harassments, arrests & forced exile of opposition in Belarus is serious violation of peaceful protests by the regime in Belarus," Sweden's Foreign Minister Ann Linde tweeted.

Abduction of opposition figures in Minsk: background

  • Three members of the opposition's Coordination Council – Maria Kolesnikova, and later Ivan Kravtsov and Anton Rodnenkov – were abducted in Minsk on September 7, with their whereabouts remaining unknown for more than a day.
  • On September 8, Kravtsov and Rodnenkov arrived in Kyiv, telling at a press conference that they had been captured by security operatives and interrogated, after which they were told to leave country under threat of criminal prosecution.
  • They agreed to drive off to Ukraine, while Kolesnikova, who had been told to do the same, allegedly deliberately tore her passport right at the border checkpoint, which made her crossing into Ukraine impossible.