Exiled Belarussian opposition leader sentenced to 15 years for ‘conspiracy to seize power’

Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was handed a 15-year jail time period on Monday after being convicted in absentia for treason and “conspiracy to seize energy,” a verdict she stated was punishment for her efforts to promote democracy.

Tsikhanouskaya, 40, a former English instructor, fled to neighbouring Lithuania in 2020 after working towards incumbent leader Alexander Lukashenko in a presidential election, which official outcomes confirmed Lukashenko received by a landslide.

She and the opposition stated on the time that the outcomes had been doctored to hand victory to Lukashenko as an alternative of herself. Lukashenko, who has dominated Belarus with an iron hand for almost 30 years, denied the declare.

Mass protests towards Lukashenko, an in depth ally of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, then erupted which his safety forces suppressed, locking up his opponents or forcing them to flee.

The authorities put Tsikhanouskaya, the opposition’s de facto head, on trial in absentia in January, accusing her and different opposition figures of attempting to seize energy.

WATCH | Tsikhanouskaya calls for extra sanctions: 

Canada publicizes extra sanctions on Belarus as exiled opposition leader meets with Trudeau

Exiled Belarusian Opposition Leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya says she welcomes sanctions imposed by Canada, however that mechanisms are needed to cease the regime in Belarus from circumventing them.

Belta, the state information company, stated a court docket in Minsk had sentenced Tsikhanouskaya to 15 years in a jail camp after discovering her responsible of treason and conspiracy to seize energy.

The identical court docket handed an 18-year jail sentence to Pavel Latushko, a distinguished member of the Belarusian opposition council, and 12-year jail sentences to three different activists convicted of being a part of the identical plot, Belta reported.

“15 years of jail. That is how the regime ‘rewarded’ my work for democratic modifications in Belarus,” Tsikhanouskaya stated on Twitter.

“However at this time I do not take into consideration my very own sentence. I take into consideration 1000’s of innocents, detained & sentenced to actual jail phrases. I will not cease till every of them is launched.”

WATCH | UN alarmed by prices towards activists: 

UN alarmed by ‘politically motivated prices’ towards activists

The UN Human Rights Workplace stated it was ‘very disturbed’ after a Belarus court docket sentenced Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights activist Ales Bialiatski to 10 years in jail in Minsk on Friday.

Rights activists estimate about 1,500 persons are in jail in Belarus on politically motivated prices.

Tsikhanouskaya’s personal husband, Syarhei, is serving an 18-year jail time period after being discovered responsible in 2021 of organizing mass unrest in a ruling she stated was political revenge and a part of a crackdown by Lukashenko on anybody he seen as a menace.

Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights activist Ales Bialiatski was sentenced to 10 years in jail on Friday by a court docket in Minsk in a trial condemned within the West as a “sham.”

Lukashenko, in energy since 1994, has accused the West of attempting to destabilize Belarus and promised to crack down arduous on any new makes an attempt to problem his rule.

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