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Belarus dissident Maria Kolesnikova in intensive care, opposition spokesman says

CNN  — 

A outstanding Belarusian opposition determine, who has been serving an 11-year jail sentence after main mass road protests towards President Alexander Lukashenko, is in intensive care after present process surgical procedure, an opposition spokesman mentioned Tuesday.

Maria Kolesnikova was taken to a hospital within the southeastern metropolis of Gomel, positioned in a surgical ward and later transferred to the intensive care unit, Gleb Germanchuk, a spokesman for Kolesnikova, advised CNN. She is in a steady however “tough state, with some enchancment,” he mentioned.

Kolesnikova was positioned in a “punishment cell” previous to her hospitalization for not being at her jail “office” when she was speculated to be there, Germanchuk mentioned, citing her lawyer, Vladimir Pylchenko.

Worries are mounting about her well-being as Pylchenko has not been in a position to see Kolesnikova in hospital. Her lawyer couldn’t get via to her within the hospital as by the point he arrived there have been no medical doctors left to let him in, Germanchuk mentioned.

Her lawyer despatched a variety of appeals to jail officers relating to considerations about her well being, Germanchuk mentioned. Kolesnikova’s family can not go to her in hospital as a result of she is a prisoner, and the identical restrictions apply to her hospital keep, Germanchuk mentioned.

The US Embassy in Minsk mentioned Tuesday it’s “intently watching” experiences of Kolesnikova’s “sudden hospitalization.”

“We hope she receives full and wonderful medical care and recovers shortly,” the US Embassy tweeted. “The US stays dedicated to accountability for regime officers who violate human rights.”

Kolesnikova, a musician-turned-activist, was one in all three girls who joined forces in 2020 to entrance the opposition’s marketing campaign towards Lukashenko after outstanding male opposition candidates had been barred from the presidential race.

The trio had been the face of a protest motion that despatched tens of 1000’s of Belarusians onto the streets to demand political change through the nation’s election. The demonstrators, in addition to unbiased observers, alleged that the vote was rigged to increase Lukashenko’s 27-year rule.

President Lukashenko denied electoral fraud and authorities responded to the protests with a crackdown.

Kolesnikova was arrested in 2020 and brought to the border, the place she was ordered to depart the nation. As a substitute, she reportedly ripped up her passport, refusing to be pressured into exile.

She was charged in September 2021 with extremism and conspiring to “seize state energy in an unconstitutional approach,” and sentenced to 11 years in jail.

The US and several other European nations have condemned the court docket’s ruling and have known as for Kolesnikova’s launch.

As a part of her keep in jail, Kolesnikova needed to do correctional work, which included seaming uniforms for the Belarusian military, Germanchuk mentioned.

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