Belarusian blogger gets 13 years in prison - RFE/RL
A court in Minsk has sentenced noted blogger Eduard Palchys to 13 years in prison amid an ongoing crackdown on those who have challenged the official results of last year's presidential election that handed victory to strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka, as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
Judge Pyatro Arlou of the Minsk City Court sentenced Palchys on December 17, convicting him of inciting social hatred, organizing mass disorder and activities disrupting social order, and calls for activities that could damage the national security of Belarus.
The trial, which was held behind closed doors, started on December 6.
Palchys was arrested in September 2020 and sentenced to 30 days in jail on a charge of violating the law on mass gatherings. After serving his sentence in October 2020, officials did not release Palchys and instead launched a criminal case against him.
He has rejected all of the charges calling them politically motivated.
Palchys is one of dozens in Belarus who have faced trials in recent months as the authorities brutally suppress dissent in any form since the disputed presidential election in August 2020.
Rights activists and opposition politicians say the poll was rigged to extend Lukashenka's 26-year rule. Thousands have been detained during nationwide protests and there have been credible reports of torture and ill-treatment by security forces. Several people have died during the crackdown.
Many of Belarus's opposition leaders have been arrested or forced to leave the country, while Lukashenka has refused to negotiate with the opposition.
The United States, the European Union, and several other countries have refused to acknowledge Lukashenka as the winner of the vote and imposed several rounds of sanctions on him and his regime, citing election fraud and the police crackdown.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
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