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Belarus sentences Tsikhanouskaya in absentia to 15 years in prison
Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko's government has sentenced opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in absentia to 15 years in prison.
The Belarusian state media, which is under the control of Lukashenko's regime, stated that Tsikhanouskaya was guilty of aiming to seize state power in an "unconstitutional way," creating an "extremist formation", and "harming" the national security of Belarus.
In response to the news, Tsikhanouskaya said, "I don't think about my own sentence. I think about thousands of innocents, detained & sentenced to real prison terms. I won't stop until each of them is released."
Tsikhanouskaya ran against Lukashenko for the presidency in 2020 after her husband, pro-democracy blogger Sergei Tsikhanousky, was arrested and jailed. Her campaign platform included the release of political prisoners and strengthening democratic institutions in Belarus.
In August 2020, Tsikhanouskaya fled abroad after Lukashenko proclaimed 80% victory, which came under international scrutiny. Since then, Tsikhanouskaya has continued advocating for a free and democratic Belarus in meetings with world leaders and international institutions.