A court in Belarus has sentenced opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya, who lives in exile, to 15 years in prison. The court announced this on Monday. She was accused, among other things, of conspiring with accomplices to overthrow the government.
Tichanovskaya and four other members of the opposition had to answer in absentia in the Belarusian capital Minsk. They were also accused of founding and leading an extremist group, inciting hatred and undermining national security. All five left Belarus after the unprecedented mass protests that began in 2020 after authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko won his sixth term in a disputed election. The opposition and the West described the election as fraudulent.
The demonstrations after the election were the largest and longest since Lukashenko took office in 1994. He rules the country with an iron fist. His government cracked down on the demonstrators with great severity, arresting more than 35,000 people and beating up thousands.
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