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NGO: Belarusian man accused of insulting Lukashenko dies in jail awaiting trial

by Nate Ostiller April 11, 2024 11:40 PM 1 min read
Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko attends a concert at the Gazprom Arena stadium in Saint Petersburg on Jan. 27, 2024. (Vyacheslav Prokofyev/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Aliaksandr Kulinich, a Belarusian man jailed for allegedly insulting Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, died in custody while awaiting trial, the Viasna human rights group said on April 11.

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.

Kulinich was arrested in February earlier this year for allegedly committing the crime of insulting Lukashenko. Belarusian authorities reported that Kulinich died of coronary heart disease on April 9, two days before his 52nd birthday, Viasna said.

According to Viasna, Kulinich is the sixth political prisoner to die behind bars in the last two years.

Ihar Lednik, a member of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (BSDP), died in prison in February. Lednik had been sentenced to three years in prison for the same crime as Kulinich–insulting Lukashenko.

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya commented on Kulinich's death, saying that he died for "opposing the regime."

"For many political prisoners held incommunicado in Belarus, it is unknown whether they are dead or alive."

Lukashenko tightens grip on power as regime prepares for new elections
Around a month before Russia held its presidential elections that were neither free nor fair, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko held his own election-style event. The Central Election Commission of Belarus, controlled by the country’s dictator, claimed an unprecedented 73% turnout. Election…
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