Exiled opposition chief vows to battle on after Belarus arms down 15-12 months treason sentence

Exiled Belarusian opposition chief Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was handed a 15-12 months jail time period on Monday after being convicted in absentia for treason and “conspiracy to grab power,” a verdict she acknowledged was punishment for her efforts to promote democracy.

Tsikhanouskaya, forty, a former English coach, fled to neighbouring Lithuania in 2020 after working in opposition to incumbent chief Alexander Lukashenko in a presidential election, which official outcomes confirmed Lukashenko obtained by a landslide.

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

Mass protests in opposition to 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 fully different opposition figures of making an try to grab power.

WATCH | Tsikhanouskaya defiant regardless of treason conviction: 

Belarus’s opposition chief defiant regardless of treason conviction

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the opposition chief in Belarus, was sentenced in absentia to fifteen years in jail for treason, saying that it was Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s sort of revenge in opposition to her.

Belta, the state information agency, acknowledged a court docket in Minsk had sentenced Tsikhanouskaya to fifteen years in a jail camp after discovering her responsible of treason and conspiracy to grab power.

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

“I wasn’t suprised by the so-acknowledged as court docket,” Tsikhanouskaya informed CBC information on Monday.

“It was predictable that Lukashenko would try to take revenge… i am going to proceed my work,” she acknowledged.

Rights activists estimate about 1,500 people are in jail in Belarus on politically motivated fees.

Tsikhanouskaya’s personal husband, Syarhei, is serving an 18-12 months jail time period after being found responsible in 2021 of organizing mass unrest in a ruling she acknowledged was political revenge and a part of a crackdown by Lukashenko on anyone 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 inside the West as a “sham.”

Lukashenko, in power since 1994, has accused the West of making an try to destabilize Belarus and promised to crack down exhausting on any new makes an try to problem his rule.


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