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Tikhanouski sentenced to additional 1.5 years in prison

The husband of Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Siarhei – a would-be candidate in the 2020 Belarusian presidential election serving an 18-year prison sentence – has been sentenced to an additional 1.5 years in prison for disobeying staff at a penal colony.

The new sentence on Tsikhanouski was announced by the Viasna human rights center, outlawed by Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s regime.

The verdict was announced on February 14 by Judge Ivan Hrynkiewicz.

Prosecutor wants 19 years in prison for Tsikhanouskaya

A prosecutor demanded a 19-year prison sentence for Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, tried in absentia at her trial in Minsk, the Centre for the Defence of Human Rights “Viasna” reported on Monday.

🇧🇾❗️Siarhei Tsikhanouski was sentenced again. They added extra 1.5 years to his sentence of 18 years in a penal colony. New charges were alleged disobedience to the prison administration. The opposition activist pleaded not guilty. The trial took place in a detention center

— Belsat in English (@Belsat_Eng) February 27, 2023

Prosecutor Mikhail Kavalou wanted the same punishment for Tsikhanouskaya’s associate Pavel Latushka, who was also tried in absentia. Tsikhanouskaya was accused by the authorities in Minsk of, among other things, treason.

At the same time, the prosecutor demanded the punishment of the opposition leader with a fine and Latushka Pavel to be deprived of the possibility of holding administrative positions for five years. The absentee trial of Tsikhanouskaya started in January

— Belsat in English (@Belsat_Eng) February 27, 2023

The prosecution is also seeking a 12-year prison sentence for the other co-defendants: Volha Kavalkova, Sergei Dyleuski, and Mary Moroz. All these opposition figures who are tried in absentia, are residing outside the country.

Today, there are +9 political prisoners in Belarus

1452 political prisoners in total

— Viasna (@viasna96) February 27, 2023

Sviatlana and Siarhei Tsikhanouski

Siarhei Tsikhanouski is the husband of Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya, a former candidate in the 2020 presidential election. However, he was the first to enter politics as a blogger and activist, gaining popularity in Belarus before the 2020 presidential campaign began.

Tsikhanouski himself was arrested on May 29, 2020, during a pre-election picket and has not been released since. In December 2021, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison for, among other things, “organizing a riot”.

The authorities did not allow him to register his candidacy for the elections, because at that time he was in jail, so his wife applied to the Central Election Commission instead, and later became recognized as the leader of the Belarusian opposition.

Tsikhanouskaya ran in the 2020 presidential election in Belarus, challenging Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who had been in power since 1994. According to authorities, the Belarusian dictator was awarded 80.1 percent of the vote, while Tsikhanouskaya received the support of 10.1 percent of voters.

I can't say that I am surprised to learn that the prosecutor asked for 19 years in the Belarus regime's fake trial against me. It has nothing to do with justice, it is just personal revenge against me & others who are opposing the regime. It will only make us fight even harder.

— Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (@Tsihanouskaya) February 27, 2023

The opposition considered these results to be falsified, and a wave of protests swept through the country demanding fair elections. These were the largest mass protests in the history of Belarus. The authorities responded with large-scale repression.

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