Belarus sentences former presidential contender to 14 years – News Vibe24

    Belarus sentences former presidential contender to 14 years - Times of India
    KYIV, Ukraine: The Supreme Court in Belarus on Tuesday sentenced a former contender in the 2020 presidential race to 14 years in prison on corruption charges in a case widely regarded as politically motivated.
    Viktor Babariko, the former chief executive of a Russian-owned bank, aspires to challenge Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko in last year’s election. However, Babarico was arrested two months before the August 2020 vote. His arrest dragged thousands of protesters into the streets. At that time, he was widely regarded as a top contender in the race.
    Babarico has remained in prison since his arrest and has dismissed allegations of corruption against him as politically motivated. On Tuesday, he was found guilty of bribery and money laundering. The court sentenced him to 14 years in prison and a fine of about $ 57,000. He will not be able to appeal the decision of the Supreme Court.
    Mr Lukashenko’s re-election to a sixth term last month sparked months of mass protests, the largest of which drew 200,000 people. The opposition refused to acknowledge the election results, saying the vote had been rigged. The authorities replied to protests with mass suppression that saw more than 35,000 people to arrest and thousands to be hit by the police.
    Most opposition leaders have been imprisoned or forced to flee the country.

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