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NGO: Belarus sentences 2 citizens over alleged anti-regime activities

by Martin Fornusek December 20, 2023 6:19 PM 2 min read
Belarusians Cheslav Kananovich and Aliaksandra Kasko sentenced to five and 10 years in prison for allegedly anti-regime activities. (Viasna/social media)
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Belarusian courts sentenced Cheslav Kananovich and Aliaksandra Kasko to five and 10 years in prison over what the regime labels anti-government activities, the Viasna human rights group reported on Dec. 19.

These sentences are only the latest cases in dictator Alexander Lukashenko's regime's crackdown on all real or imagined dissent in Belarus.

The Minsk Regional Court sentenced the 31-year-old Kananovich on Dec. 18 for allegedly donating 1,700 Belarusian rubles ($13.27) to the Kastus Kalinouski Regiment, a unit made up of Belarusian volunteers fighting under Ukraine's Armed Forces.

Lukashenko's regime considers the regiment an "extremist organization."

Kananovich was sentenced on the charges of financing armed activities on a territory of a foreign state.

A day after Kananovich's trial, the Hrodna Regional Court sentenced 30-year-old Kasko on the charges of "participation in extremist formation, facilitating extremist activities" and six other articles.

Kasko was detained upon returning to Belarus from Poland on Feb. 9. The charges concern her activities both in Belarus and abroad, namely allegedly managing anti-Lukashenko regime Telegram channels.

Even before the trial, the Belarusian secret police, the KGB, listed Kasko as a "terrorist" and an "extremist."

Repressions against opposition figures and dissenters escalated in Belarus following the 2020 presidential election, in which Lukashenko certified his hold on power through electoral fraud and a violent crackdown.

Detainees and political prisoners reportedly often suffer torture and humiliation at the hands of Belarusian authorities.

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