“My work for democracy paid off with 15 years in prison”
Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was sentenced to 15 years in prison in a trial in absentia in a Minsk court. This was reported by the Belarusian news agency Belta. The sentence of Tikhanovskaya, who lives in exile in Lithuania, comes three days after that of Ales Bialiatski, Nobel Peace Prize winner, sentenced to ten years for his role in the 2021 demonstrations against the re-election of President Aleksander Lukashenko.
Tikhanovskaya, presidential candidate in August 2020, whose result was not recognized by the EU and the United States, was convicted on charges of “conspiracy to take power unconstitutionally”, of having led “an extremist formation ” and to have damaged national security, “by inciting discord and public disorder for ideological reasons”. Another activist and dissident, Pavel Latushka, was sentenced to 18 years with her. For Tikhanovskaya, the Minsk prosecutor’s office had asked for a sentence of 19 years in prison.
“Fifteen years in prison. This is how the regime ‘repaid’ my work for democratic changes in Belarus,” Tikhanovskaya commented. “But today – she continued in a tweet – I am not thinking only of my sentence. I am thinking of the thousands of innocent people, detained and sentenced to real prison terms. I will not stop until each of them is released”.