Wednesday, December 2, 2020
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Maxim Znak: Last Active Member of the Opposition’s Coordination Council in Belarus

By Erva Ozcan , in Belarus Election Integrity Human Rights Police Violence , at November 17, 2020

Maxim Znak, a lawyer who is the last member of the Opposition’s Coordination Council still active inside Belarus

Maxim Znak  is a Belarusian lawyer and politician, He is a member of the Council board and a prominent critic of President Alexander Lukashenko. He also had worked as a lawyer for jailed presidential hopeful Viktor Babaryko.

On 9 September 2020 , he has been detained in Minsk by gang of masked men wearing plain clothes . According to Babaryko’s press service, he did not show up in a video call meeting and sent a message with the word “masks”. It said a witness had also seen Znak, 39, being led down the street near his offices by several men in civilian clothes and wearing masks.

Znak was detained two days after another opposition leader, Maria Kolesnikova, was snatched in the street by masked men. Both are prominent leaders of protests demanding the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko following an Aug. 9 election that the opposition says was rigged. Lukashenko denies opponents’ accusations of vote-rigging and has accused foreign powers of trying to topple him in a revolution. He retains the backing of Russian President Vladimir Putin, an important ally, but faces the likelihood of European Union sanctions later this month against Belarusian officials involved in the election and its violent aftermath.

“Europe must quickly agree on a list of sanctions. And from my point of view, it should include Lukashenko, the head of this system,” Manfred Weber, a senior German conservative and head of the largest grouping in the EU Parliament, told German public broadcaster ZDF.

On the other hand, Znak and Kolesnikova’s detention leaves Nobel Prize-winning writer Svetlana Alexievich as the last remaining member of the Coordination Council’s governing presidium to remain free in Belarus. 72-year-old Alexievich told reporters that unidentified men in plainclothes were seeking to intimidate her by gathering outside her apartment building.

“They call my house intercom system non-stop,” she said, pointing to two buses parked nearby, AFP news agency reported.

Referring to reports of Znak’s detention, Alexievich said security services were “snatching the best of us.”

“What is happening is terror against the people,” she said.