Opposition leader Tikhanovsky sentenced to 18 years in prison for protests – sport news football96

A Belarusian opposition leader who organized mass protests against the controversial leader Alexander Lukashenko has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

After a sham trial, Sergei Tikhanovsky was convicted of organizing unrest, among other things.

He planned to challenge Lukashenko in the 2020 presidential election but was arrested before the vote.

His wife Svetlana Tikhanovskaya competed against Lukashenko, who won the widely discredited poll.

She claimed victory in the August elections herself, but was forced into exile with her children the next day, fearing for her safety.

On Tuesday, Ms. Tikhanovskaya questioned the validity of the court that had brought her husband on trial, saying his sentence was tantamount to “revenge” on Mr. Lukashenko.

“While hiding the political prisoners in closed trials, he hopes to continue the repression in silence. But the whole world is watching. We will not stop,” Ms. Tikhanovskaya wrote in a tweet.

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Prior to the verdict, she said she would continue to “defend the person I love” in a Twitter video showing children’s drawings in the background.
The state-run Belarusian news agency Belta announced that the verdict was passed on Tuesday in a court in the southeastern city of Gomel.

The state newspaper Sovetskaya Belarus announced that five other members of the opposition who were on trial alongside Mr. Tichanovsky had been sentenced to prison terms of between 14 and 16 years. Among them was the experienced politician Mikola Statkevich, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

They are the youngest opposition activists to be jailed in Belarus after brutal crackdown on dissenting voices questioning Lukashenko’s election victory.

Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994 and defied months of protests last year when opposition politicians and activists were arrested and imprisoned.

Mr Tikhanovsky is now one of hundreds of political prisoners reportedly held in Belarusian prisons. Among them is protest organizer Maria Kolesnikova, convicted of crimes such as conspiracy to seize power and sentenced to 11 years in prison in September.

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