Belarus begins trial in absentia of protest chief Tikhanovskaya

Belarus begins trial in absentia of protest chief Tikhanovskaya

Belarus begins trial in absentia of protest chief Tikhanovskaya

The trial in absentia of Belarus opposition chief Svetlana Tikhanovskaya started in Minsk on Tuesday as strongman president Alexander Lukashenko cracks down on critics who challenged his three-decade rule.

Tikhanovskaya, who claimed victory over Lukashenko within the 2020 presidential election, faces a litany of expenses together with excessive treason, “conspiracy to grab energy” and creating and main an extremist organisation.

The 40-year-old activist — who was pressured throughout mass protests that adopted the vote to depart Belarus for neighbouring Lithuania, a European Union nation — has grow to be the face of Belarusian democratic forces.

In an interview with AFP in Davos, Switzerland, Tikhanovskaya described the trial as a “farce” and stated she had not been given entry to court docket paperwork forward of the proceedings.

“I do not know the way lengthy this trial will happen, what number of days, however I am positive they are going to sentence me to many, a few years in jail,” she stated on Monday.

Tikhanovskaya’s political allies — Maria Moroz, Pavel Latushko, Olga Kovalkova and Sergei Dylevsky — are additionally being tried in absentia.

Talking in Davos on Tuesday, the protest chief stated she was not allowed to participate within the hearings or obtain a replica of the cost sheet.

She was assigned a lawyer however she couldn’t get in contact with him, she added.

“How is he going to defend me?” Tikhanovskaya requested. “I’m positive that has not been a part of his plans.”

– ‘Unprecedented repression’-

Tikhanovskaya was a part of a trio of ladies — together with Maria Kolesnikova and Veronika Tsepkalo — who spearheaded large rallies in opposition to Lukashenko that broke out throughout Belarus in 2020.

Tsepkalo now lives in exile, whereas Kolesnikova refused to depart Belarus and tore up her passport. She was sentenced to 11 years in jail in 2021.

Tikhanovskaya’s high-profile trial comes after Belarusian authorities put within the dock a lot of different critics, together with jailed Nobel Prize winner Ales Bialiatski.

Bialiatski, 60, based Viasna (Spring), the nation’s high rights group, and has been in detention since July 2021, together with two of his associates.

The rights campaigners stand accused of smuggling a “giant amount of money” into Belarus to allegedly fund opposition actions, and face between seven and 12 years in jail.

“The political repression by the regime of Lukashenko has reached an unprecedented degree,” the European Union’s overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell stated in an announcement.

He stated that the politically motivated trials had been “aimed toward silencing any impartial voices and shutting all remaining house for democratic debate.”

Forward of the beginning of Tikhanovskaya’s trial, investigators introduced new expenses in opposition to her husband, Sergei Tikhanovsky, who in 2021 was discovered responsible of organising riots and inciting social hatred.

He was sentenced to 18 years in jail.

The charismatic 44-year-old YouTube blogger galvanised Belarusians when he ran for president in 2020 and coined a brand new insult for long-time incumbent Lukashenko when he referred to as him a “cockroach.”

– ‘New expenses for jailed husband’ –

Tikhanovsky was not allowed to run within the election, and his spouse ran in his place, claiming victory.

On Monday, the Investigative Committee stated Tikhanovsky confronted new expenses of disobeying jail officers as a result of he allegedly provoked conflicts with cellmates and flouted jail authorities’ orders.

Belarus witnessed a historic protest motion denouncing the controversial re-election of Lukashenko, who has been in energy for practically 30 years.

Backed by Russian chief Vladimir Putin, Lukashenko unleashed a large crackdown, throwing critics into jail or forcing them into exile.

The Viasna rights group says there are greater than 1,400 political prisoners in Belarus.

On Monday, a Polish-Belarusian journalist went on trial within the western metropolis of Grodno.

Andrzej Poczobut, a correspondent for main Polish every day Gazeta Wyborcza and a consultant of the Polish minority in Belarus, was arrested in March, 2021.

He faces as much as 12 years in jail for criticising Lukashenko’s regime, if convicted.


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