A Minsk court sentenced this Monday, in absentia, the Belarusian opposition leader in exile, Svetlana Tijanóvskayato 15 years in prison after finding her guilty of charges such as conspiracy to seize power through unconstitutional means.
As reported by the Belarusian agency BELTA, the court also sentenced four other exiled opponents in the same case, including the former Minister of Culture Pavel Latushko and member of the Coordination Council for a democratic transition in Belarus.
Latushko was sentenced to 18 years in prison, while maria moroz, Olga Kovalkova y Sergei Dylevsky They are sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The Belarusian Prosecutor’s Office had requested 19 years in prison for Tijanóvskaya and Latushko and 12 years for other defendants in the case. All the damned are in exile in Lithuania or Poland and were tried in absentia.
The court found Tijanóvskaya and the other opponents guilty of unconstitutionally arranging the seizure of state power; created an extremist formation; and made public calls to seize state power and commit other actions aimed at harming the national security of Belarus.
They were also found guilty of deliberate actions intended to incite social enmity and discord.
Tijanóvskaya, which is considered the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election – described as fraudulent by the opposition and the West – and which unleashed the largest protests in the history of Belarus, previously stated that the judicial system in his country “has become a machine of repression and terror”.
The opposition leader downplayed the sentence today and stated on his Telegram channel that “with her or without her, the democratic forces and I will continue to do everything possible to free our political prisoners and achieve democratic changes in our country.”
The protests after the presidential elections, in which the head of state, Alexander Lukashenkoclaimed his sixth term, were violently repressed amid allegations of torture.
In total there are 1,438 political prisoners in Belarus among bloggers, businessmen, activists, protesters and presidential hopefuls, including Tijanóvskaya’s husband, Serguéi Tjanovskiaccording to the human rights organization Vesná.
Last December Lukashenko commuted or reduced the sentences of 4,500 prisoners under an amnesty law, but none had been arrested in protests against electoral fraud. EFE
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