Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has been placed on Russia’s wanted list, the country’s interior ministry said Wednesday, October 7.
The 38-year-old, who took refuge in EU member Lithuania following her claim to have beaten long-running leader Alexander Lukashenko in August elections, is “wanted on a criminal charge,” the Russian interior ministry told Agence France-Presse, without giving further details.
The Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported that Tikhanovskaya faces a charge in Belarus over making public calls to harm the country’s security, including calls to seize power.
A political novice until her campaign to end Lukashenko’s 26-year rule brought thousands out onto the streets of Belarus, Tikhanovskaya has recently met European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and reportedly took part in a protest outside the Bundestag on Wednesday.
Russian news agencies cited law enforcement sources as saying that her listing appeared automatically due to Moscow’s commitments as part of a “union state” with neighboring Belarus.
Belarus has not announced Tikhanovskaya as wanted, however.
Belarusian interior ministry spokeswoman Olga Chemodanova told the country’s Tut.by independent news site: “So far I don’t have information that I could tell you.”
Numerous key allies of Tikhanovskaya have been detained on the charge of making public calls to harm the country’s security or driven out of the country by threats from the authorities.
The European Union and the United States have refused to recognize Lukashenko’s inauguration as president last month, citing rigged polls.
European Union leaders have approved sanctions against members of the Belarus regime but not against Lukashenko himself, prompting Belarus to announce counter-sanctions against unnamed officials. – Rappler.com
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