Strong criticism from the USA: Lukashenko extends the death penalty

Strong criticism from the USA
Lukashenko extends death sentence

Lukashenko extends the death penalty in Belarus. The United States criticizes that this could in future apply to peaceful protesters, political dissidents or opponents of war in Ukraine. A first pointer could be a court case that has just begun.

The United States has strongly criticized a new law in Belarus, according to which preparing and “attempting an act of terrorism” can be punished with the death penalty. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the law targets pro-democracy activists and opponents of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. “These actions are those of an authoritarian leader who desperately clings to power through fear and intimidation.”

Blinken explained that the Lukashenko regime has made allegations of politically motivated “extremism” and “terrorism” against many of the more than 1,100 political prisoners in Belarus. These terms have also been used as a pretext for the arrest of tens of thousands of other people. The US Secretary of State has warned that “peaceful protesters, civil society representatives, journalists, political opponents” and opponents of war in Ukraine now face the death penalty.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti previously reported that Lukashenko had signed the law extending the death penalty. Until now, only the perpetrators of an attack could be punished with the death penalty in Belarus.

Exiles are also considered terrorists

Since mass protests against Lukashenko’s controversial re-election in August 2020, many opponents of the Belarusian government have been accused of attempting or preparing an “act of terrorism”, including opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya, who fled into exile.

A new trial against twelve government opponents, accused among other things of “preparing acts of terrorism”, opened on Wednesday in the city of Grodno, according to the Belarusian center for human rights Vyazna. The group is accused of setting fire to the car and home of one policeman, then blowing up the car of another. Belarus is the last country in Europe that still applies the death penalty.

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