Belarus Detains Member Of Coordination Council, Searches Her Home
By RFE/RL's Belarus Service August 31, 2020
Belarusian law enforcement have detained a top member of a council set up to coordinate a transition of power as authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka seeks to extend his rule.
Police from the financial crimes unit detained Lilia Vlasova, one of seven members of the Coordination Council Presidium, on August 31 after searching her home earlier in the day, her colleague Paval Latushka said in a Telegram post.
Vlasova, 67, is at least the third member of the presidium to have been detained since it was set up earlier this month following nationwide protests in the wake of the disputed August 9 presidential election.
Two members of the presidium were jailed for 10 days while at least six of the seven have been questioned.
Lukashanka, who has ruled Belarus for 26 years, was declared the winner in the election, which was widely viewed as rigged in his favor.
Citizens have taken to the streets over the past three weeks to protest the results and demand he step aside. As many as 200,000 people took part in the August 24 protest in the capital, Minsk.
Lukashenka has shown no sign of giving in to the protesters. In a demonstration of his defiance, he was photographed again on August 30 carrying an automatic weapon.
His prosecutor-general has opened an investigation into the council, claiming it is attempting to "seize" power illegally and of having an "anti-Russian" agenda.
As many as 600 people have been involved with the Coordination Council with about 70 forming its "backbone," opposition lawyer Maksim Znak said August 24.
Vlasova founded one of the first private law practices in Belarus in 1990 and helped develop the process of resolving cases through mediation for which she was recognized by the Union of Belarus Lawyers.
Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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