‘Freedom is worth fighting for’: Belarus activists on trial

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Leading opposition figures went on trial in Belarus Wednesday, part of a multi-pronged crackdown on dissent in the ex-Soviet nation that was rocked by months of protests. Maria Kolesnikova, a top member of the opposition Coordination Council, has been in custody since her arrest in September. She is accused of conspiring to seize power, creating an extremist organization and calling for actions damaging state security. The trial of Kolesnikova and lawyer Maxim Znak, another leading member of the Coordination Council, started Wednesday at the Minsk Regional Court. Kolesnikova resisted authorities’ attempts to force her to leave Belarus and ripped up her passport when officers of the Belarusian security agency tried to forcibly expel her in September.

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