Belarus Dissidents Sentenced To Lengthy Jail Terms

Monday, September 6, 2021 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy

(Worthy News) – In a significant warning to dissidents, a court in Belarus on Monday sentenced two leading opposition activists to lengthy prison terms.

Maria Kolesnikova, a top member of the opposition Coordination Council, received 11 years imprisonment for “conspiring to seize power, creating an extremist organization and calling for actions damaging state .”

Lawyer Maxim Znak, another leading member of the Coordination Council, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on the exact charges.

They both have denied the charges against them and denounced the trial as a sham. Their lawyers said the two activists would appeal against the verdict.

Supporters link the sentences to their role in opposition against the controversial re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, who the U.S. has called “’s last dictator.”

For months, Belarusians protested against the August 2020 vote, denounced by the , U.S. and as neither free nor fair.

Tens of thousands of protesters were detained, and many were beaten as Lukashenko, in power since 1994, tried to silence dissent, according to former inmates and groups.

Independent journalists and activists are among those detained in a crackdown that continues a year later, with some 650 political prisoners behind bars, activists say.

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