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Imprisoned Belarusian opposition leader Maria Kalesnikava rushed from penal colony to intensive-care unit
Update: Viktar Babaryka’s Telegram channel reported that Maria Kalesnikava was hospitalized due to a “surgical pathology” and underwent surgery on November 28. As of November 29, she was reportedly in a stable condition and improving, and on November 30, she will reportedly be transferred to the hospital's surgical ward.
Maria Kalesnikava, the Belarusian opposition leader who had been serving an 11-year sentence in a penal colony, has been rushed to an emergency hospital. On November 28, she was admitted to a surgical ward, and was later moved to an ICU.
There is no information as yet about her condition or what happened to her in the penal colony. Sometime before her hospitalization, Kalesnikava had been placed in a penal cell, but it’s unclear when this happened or how long she had been held there.
Information about Kalesnikava’s hospitalization appeared on Viktar Babaryka Official, the Telegram channel run by the supporters of Viktar Babaryka, a banker and opposition politician who is also currently imprisoned in Belarus.
Hospital staff told Kalesnikava’s attorney, Vladimir Pylchenko, that his client was admitted on November 28.
It appears that Pylchenko only learned about this after trying to visit his client at the colony on November 29, where the officials denied his request to see her, for the third time in a row. It appears that no one at the colony told Pylchenko that his client was in a hospital.
Maria Kalesnikava had been a campaign aide to Viktar Babaryka, an opposition politician who planned to run against Alexander Lukashenko in the 2020 presidential election, but was instead arrested, and subsequently imprisoned.
In September 2020, Kalesnikava was abducted in an attempt to forcibly get her out of Belarus. She foiled that plan when she tore up her passport at the border.
In September 2021, the court sentenced Maria Kalesnikava to 11 years in prison, on charges of attempting a “seizure of state power.” Kalesnikava and the second defendant in the case, Maxim Znak, both denied the charges. Znak was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
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