Belarusian investigators have summoned Nobel Literature Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich for questioning over her links with a new coordination council opposing to long-time ruler Alexander Lukashenko.
The 72-year old author who won the prestigious award in 2015, is a member of the opposition Council, was questioned at the Belarusian Investigative Committee on Wednesday, as a witness in an ongoing criminal probe into the council’s creation.
The council was set up shortly after Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory in the country’s disputed presidential elections, held on August 9, when he gathered more than 80% of the votes. The elections’ outcome has prompted massive protests, with thousands taking it to the streets, asking for fair elections and for Lukashenko’s resignation.
Following major police crackdown on demonstrators, Alexievich said that “the authorities have declared war on their people” and called the Belarusian president to step down from power to prevent a bloody civil war.
“Leave before it’s too late, before you have plunged the people into a terrible abyss, into the abyss of civil war,” the Nobel prize winner had told RFE/RL in an interview earlier in August. She added that “nobody wants blood. Only you [Lukashenko] want power. And it’s your desire for power that requires blood.”
Belarusian authorities’ move to summon the Nobel Laureate came a day after more than 100,000 people demonstrated peacefully against Lukashenko, in the third week of massive protests.
Dozens have been arrested and detained unlawfully, while two more members of the coordination council, Olga Kovalkova, the main representative of Lukashenko’s rival, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Sergei Dylevsky, were also arrested on Monday.
On Tuesday, Both Kovalkova and Dylevsky appeared in an online court hearing and were sentenced to ten days in jail.