- A Belarusian court sentenced exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to 15 years in prison after a trial in absentia on charges including conspiring to overthrow the government.1
- The court also launched in-absentia proceedings against members of the Belarusian opposition council. Some members will serve 18 years, others will each serve 12.2
- Tsikhanouskaya claims that her sentence is punishment for her efforts to promote democracy in Belarus, saying via Twitter after the court’s decision, '15 years of prison. This is how the regime ‘rewarded’ my work for democratic changes in Belarus.'3
- After losing in a landslide to incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko, Tsikhanouskaya fled to neighboring Lithuania as mass protests erupted after the 2020 election.4
- Despite losing in a massive electoral landslide, Tsikhanouskaya claims Belarus’s election was rigged to keep Lukashenko in power. Lukashenko has ruled the country for nearly 30 years and is accused of cracking down on dissent.1
- Last week a Belarus Court sentenced Nobel Prize winner Ales Bialiatski to 10 years in prison. Bialiatski’s Viasna rights group says that 1.5K people in Belarus are in jail on politically motivated charges.5
- Narrative A, as provided by The crime report. Alexander Lukashenko’s brutal regime continues to stifle dissent by imprisoning political adversaries. As a close ally of Vladimir Putin, Lukashenko’s tactics are not very surprising, but they are still a travesty. The international community must be very clear — Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was imprisoned for promoting democracy just as thousands before her were. This tyranny must end immediately.
- Narrative B, as provided by RT. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is a Western-backed operative whose primary goal is to disrupt order in Belarus and seize power through unconstitutional means. Tsikhanouskaya garnered just 10% of the vote in the 2020 election, yet she claims she won. She is now going across Europe trying to get countries to impose sanctions on Belarus. Tsikhanouskaya has opposed Belarus’s sovereignty from the beginning, and she must serve her time.