A Belarusian court has sentenced blogger Sergei Tijanovski, husband of opposition leader Svetlana Tijanovskaya, to 18 years imprisonment and called the verdict “revenge” on the “dictator” Alexander Lukashenko.
Tijanovski was convicted by a court in Gomel. The judge has considered it proven that the blogger and his allies organized rioting as well as acts of violence and disobedience against the authorities, for which, according to the official agency BelTA, he will ultimately have to be taken to a maximum security prison.
“The dictator is publicly taking revenge on his greatest opponents,” complained former presidential candidate Tijanovskaya on her Twitter account. “While hiding political prisoners in closed trials, he hopes to continue silently suppressing them,” he added.
Tijanosvki was due to run in the August 2020 elections, for which his wife eventually ran after his arrest. Tijanovskaya was the opposition’s most elected candidate, despite the fact that the electoral commission only gave her 10 percent of the vote, far from what the opposition claimed.
Lukashenko ignored the national and international criticism and declared himself the winner again. He began a sixth term in the shadow of illegality. Countries and blocs like the EU have promoted sanctions against Minsk because of the increasing repression and the deterioration of democracy.
Over the past year there have been several convictions against prominent dissidents, including Maria Kolesnikova, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison, and Viktor Babariko, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison.