Belarus: 18 years in prison for Sergei Tikhanowsky
The Belarusian blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky, husband of opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison. The 43-year-old was convicted of "preparing and organising mass unrest" in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. For commentators, this shows once again how far Lukashenka's Belarus has moved away from democratic standards.
One of almost a thousand political prisoners
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya wrote that Lukashenka was taking public revenge on his strongest opponents. She is absolutely right, La Stampa complains:
“The trial took place behind closed doors. According to Belarusian state media, 43-year-old Tikhanovsky was charged with organising riots and inciting hatred on social networks, which, like the harsh sentences against the other five defendants, is considered to be overtly politically motivated. Almost all of Belarus's major opposition figures have been behind bars or forced to emigrate Since 2020, and even Tikhanovskaya was forced to leave the country immediately after the election. ... According to the civil rights centre Viasna, there are currently 920 political prisoners in Belarus.”
Shun the rogue state
The EU must pull out all the stops now, journalist Deniz Yücel demands in Die Welt:
“Exert economic and political pressure, isolate, exclude, ostracise. ... Originally coined by John Rawls, one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century, the term 'rogue state' (or as Rawls wrote: outlaw states) has fallen into disrepute due to its interest-driven use by the US administration - and certain practices by the US itself. But its in some cases questionable use does not disqualify the term itself. And the Lukashenka regime is precisely that: a rogue state in the middle of 21st century Europe. It should therefore be treated as such.”