Belarus takes legal action against senior opposition figures

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Belarus has launched legal proceedings against senior opposition figures including Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

The Investigative Committee of Belarus, a state-run law enforcement body, accused Tsikhanouskaya and other opposition figures of, among other offenses, participating in mass riots, inciting social hatred, conspiring to seize power, and founding extremist organizations.

Tsikhanouskaya, who ran against Alexander Lukashenko in the fraudulent presidential election of 2020 before being forced to flee Belarus amid a brutal, Kremlin-backed crackdown on the opposition, now lives in exile.

Tsikhanouskaya was this month in Brussels for meetings with EU leaders and is establishing a permanent mission in Brussels, part of a move to legitimize her government-in-waiting and present it as a credible alternative to the long-ruling Lukashenko.

In December 2021, a Belarusian court sentenced Tsikhanouskaya’s husband Sergei to 18 years in prison for inciting hatred and social unrest. The video blogger was arrested in May 2020 as he was preparing to run for the presidency against Lukashenko — and it was after his detention that Tsikhanouskaya stood in the election instead.

PHOTO: Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya . EPA-EFE/Piotr Nowak

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