Syarhei Tsikhanouski, Belarus activist who challenged president, sentenced to 18 years in jail

Issues to know in this story:

Courtroom palms down long jail term to competition baby-kisser. Unearths him in charge of organizing mass unrest. He denies wrongdoing, spouse says it’s political revenge. Verdict a part of long-operating competition crackdown. 

 A court docket in Belarus sentenced the competition chief’s husband to 18 years in jail on Tuesday after he was once arrested right through an try to run for president against incumbent Alexander Lukashenko, a verdict his spouse referred to as political revenge.

The courtroom discovered Syarhei Tsikhanouski, a FORTY THREE-yr-old video blogger, accountable of organizing mass unrest and of inciting social hatred, and passed him one among the longest jail phrases in up to date Belarusian historical past. 

Tsikhanouski’s trial was closed to the general public and legal professionals have been banned from disclosing main points of the case.

His supporters stated the costs had been fabricated and politically encouraged.

Syarhei Tsikhanouski, Belarus activist who challenged president, sentenced to 18 years in jail

Belarusian competition chief Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya holds a portrait of her jailed husband Syarhei Tsikhanousky at a protest tough freedom for political prisoners in Belarus in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Might 29. A courtroom in Belarus has sentenced Tsikhanousky to 18 years in prison. (Mindaugas Kulbis/The Related Press)

Syarhei, husband of opposition chief Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, was once arrested at an competition protest in Might ultimate 12 months after being barred from collaborating in an election later that year, which his spouse contested as a substitute.

He sprung to prominence in Belarus after comparing Lukashenko, who has been in power because 1994, to a mustachioed cockroach from a children’s fairy story.

Syarhei Tsikhanouski, Belarus activist who challenged president, sentenced to 18 years in jail

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko speaks all through an interview with Russia’s Rossiya Segodnya information agency, additionally known as Sputnik in Minsk on Nov. 30. (Nikolay Petrov/BelTA by the use of The Associated Press)

His jailing angered many Belarusians who went directly to level the biggest protests against Lukashenko in publish-Soviet historical past after what they said was once a rigged presidential election, something he denied.

Tuesday’s harsh jail term is a part of a development that has observed Lukashenko, who is supported by Russia, use the courts and the police to systematically repress his combatants and critics by means of locking them up for lengthy sessions or forcing them out of the country.

“My husband … is sentenced to 18 years in jail,” his wife, Sviatlana who is based in Lithuania, mentioned on Twitter.
 
“The dictator publicly takes revenge on his strongest opponents. Even As hiding the political prisoners in closed trials, he hopes to continue repressions in silence. but the entire global watches. we cannot forestall,” she wrote.

My husband, Siarhei Tsikhanouski, is sentenced to 18 years in jail. The dictator publicly takes revenge on his most powerful combatants. At The Same Time As hiding the political prisoners in closed trials, he hopes to proceed repressions in silence. but the entire global watches. we can’t forestall. ✊ pic.twitter.com/hdnHj8y6HZ

—@Tsihanouskaya

These Days, the so-known as court in Belarus will deliver the sentence to Siarhei Tsikhanouski. i can consider these numbers. But be it 12 months, or 20, or 100, – it’s unacceptable. the one question i can ask myself is: what am I going to do with this? #StandWithBelarus pic.twitter.com/9BNLTLCquL

—@Tsihanouskaya

Tsikhanouskaya fled to neighbouring Lithuania to flee a sweeping crackdown after the election closing year. She has when you consider that gained prominence, assembly an array of Western leaders.

there has been no quick remark from Lukashenko, whose opposition crackdown and role in a migrant standoff with the Eu Union have brought on Western sanctions in opposition to his u . s . a ..

WATCH | Masses of migrants caught in Belarus warehouse: 

Syarhei Tsikhanouski, Belarus activist who challenged president, sentenced to 18 years in jail

Migrants desire for future in EU amid grim conditions in Belarus

2 days ago

Duration FIVE:04

Loads of migrants caught up within the EUROPEAN border situation are living in grim prerequisites inside of a Belarus warehouse, but haven’t lost hope of a long term in Germany or elsewhere. FIVE:04

Five supporters of Tsikhanouski were additionally attempted at the side of him and sentenced to jail terms starting from 14 to SIXTEEN years on Tuesday. they also denied the costs in opposition to them.

Julie Fisher, the U.S. Ambassador to Belarus, condemned the ruling and called for Tsikhanouski’s unencumber.

“it is clear whom the regime most fears. The United States Of America alongside our partners will continue efforts to secure the unconditional free up of all political prisoners … and all the ones dealing with unjust detention and vengeful verdicts,” she tweeted.
 
Tsikhanouski’s mom Sofya told U.S. broadcaster RFE/RL she feared she may by no means see her son once more.

“what number of? Eighteen years for my son? What for? … God … I’m 71. I would possibly not are living that lengthy, I would possibly not see my son.”

35,000 had been detained arbitrarily, UN says

In July, a Belarusian courtroom jailed former presidential contender Viktor Babariko for 14 years after convicting him on corruption charges he denied.

In September, Maria Kolesnikova, one in all the leaders of mass street protests against Lukashenko closing yr, used to be sentenced to 11 years in prison.
 
UN Special Rapporteur Anaïs Marin stated more than 35,000 other people had been arbitrarily detained over the previous 12 months and that the fear of repression had brought about tens of heaps of Belarusians to flee to hunt safe haven out of the country. 

Polish forces use water cannons in conflict with migrants at Belarus borderMere steps from the european, loads of migrants remain stranded in Belarusian warehouse

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