Maria Kolesnikova, the Belarusian opposition politician who ripped up her passport to avoid forcible deportation this week, has said security officers put a bag over her head and threatened to kill her in response.
Kolesnikova, a trained flautist and music teacher who has emerged as one of the figureheads of protests against the authoritarian leader, Alexander Lukashenko, said she was told by security officers that she would be removed from Belarus “alive or in bits” after she thwarted their plan to dump her in Ukraine by tearing up her passport at the border.
“There were also threats to imprison me for up to 25 years,” Kolesnikova said, according to a complaint filed by her lawyer.
Kolesnikova’s lawyer, Lyudmila Kazak, filed a criminal complaint against Belarusian authorities including the KGB security police for kidnap, illegal detention and threats to kill, the news site Tut.By said.
The complaint was submitted to the state investigative committee. Asked for comment, a representative of the committee, Sergei Kabakovich, said: “At the present moment I have no information about this.”
Kolesnikova’s complaint included the names and ranks of individual officers of the KGB and the organised crime agency whom she accuses of threatening her, and said she would be able to identify them.
She is now being held in the capital, Minsk, where Kazak said she was being questioned on Thursday. Kazak saw her client at a pre-trial detention centre on Wednesday and said she had bruises on her body.
Lukashenko denies rigging the 9 August election, which official results said he won by a landslide, and has cracked down on protesters demanding his resignation. He has refused to talk to the opposition, saying it is bent on wrecking the country.