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8 Oct, 2020 13:48

'No criminal charges filed': Moscow explains why Belarusian opposition leader Tikhanovskaya was added to Russian 'wanted' list

'No criminal charges filed': Moscow explains why Belarusian opposition leader Tikhanovskaya was added to Russian 'wanted' list

Ex-Belarusian presidential candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, isn't facing any criminal charges in Russia, the Russian Interior Ministry has clarified. She was put on a 'wanted' list when charges were filed against her in Minsk.

The explanatory statement comes a day after various media outlets, including RT,  reported that the main opposition candidate in the disputed August Belarusian election had appeared on Russia's 'wanted' list.

"Russian law enforcement authorities have not launched any criminal cases against Svetlana Tikhanovskaya," the ministry said, on Thursday. 

Her name appeared on Russia's law enforcement resources because the Russian Interior Ministry's Main Informational and Analytical Center is responsible for operating the interstate 'wanted' list. It allows the arrest and extradition of suspects among the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) members, which includes Russia, Belarus, and seven other former Soviet republics.

Also on rt.com Ex-Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya placed on 'wanted' list in Russia, under Union State treaty with Minsk

The 38-year-old automatically appeared on the system after Minsk charged her with calls for an illegal seizure of power.

The criminal case was launched after she initiated the creation of an opposition coordination council tasked with transferring presidential authority to her from the longtime Belarusian leader, Alexander Lukashenko. If found guilty, Tikhanovskaya could face up to five years in prison.

Belarus has been gripped by huge protests since the presidential elections on August 9. The opposition refused to recognize the results of the vote, which was decisively won by Lukashenko, according to the official, disputed, count. Thousands of people have been taking to the streets every weekend demanding Lukashenko's resignation and a new vote.

Tikhanovskaya herself fled to Lithuania days after the results were announced, fearing persecution. On Wednesday, the former presidential candidate said she was totally "unaware of being implicated in any criminal case in Belarus, not to mention Russia," sarcastically adding that she should probably "check her mail."

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