Belarus opposition council members questioned in criminal case

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsihkanouskaya listens during a news conference in Vilnius, Lithuania August 21, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer

MINSK (Reuters) – Two leading members of a newly formed opposition council in Belarus were questioned on Friday in a criminal case that accuses the body of trying to seize power from President Alexander Lukashenko after a disputed election.

Dozens of supporters accompanied Maksim Znak and Sarhey Dyleuski as they arrived for questioning at the headquarters of the Investigative Committee.

Znak, a lawyer, said on entering that he feared he might be arrested. But when he emerged later, he said he had “productive discussions”.

“We gave our explanation, we will continue to work,” he said.

The Coordinating Committee was launched this week with the self-described aim of negotiating a transfer of power amid the largest political crisis in Belarus since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Lukashenko, in power for 26 years, was declared the winner of an Aug. 9 presidential election, but tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets saying the election is rigged.