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The Leader of Europe's 'Last Dictatorship' Is Facing an Unprecedented Challenge. Here's What It Could Mean for Belarus

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Europe’s longest serving leader Alexander Lukashenko has long worked hard to seem invincible. He has dominated past elections that the U.S. has deemed neither free nor fair and brokered no dissent and suppressed protests. Now, he is facing an unprecedented challenge as he runs for a sixth term as president of Belarus in elections on August 9. A former teacher and political novice, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, has emerged as his main rival, pledging to topple Lukashenko’s regime and restore democracy.
Tens of thousands have rallied across Belarus in some of the country’s biggest opposition protests in a decade, amid mounting frustration over the government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis, combined with grievances about the economy. Referring to Lukashenko, protestors chanted ‘stop the cockroach’ and held placards reading ‘change!’.
“For the first time in his 26-year rule, Lukashenko knows the majority don’t support him,” says Aleksandr Feduta, a former aide to the incumbent, who was i…

27 Former Judges and Prosecutors File Amicus Brief with U.S. Supreme Court on Behalf of Troy Davis

On May 20, twenty-seven former judges and prosecutors from across the political spectrum filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis.

Signers of the amicus brief include Larry Thompson (Deputy Attorney General of the United States, 2001-2003), former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA; U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, 1986-1990); William S. Sessions (Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1987-1993), and John Gibbons (former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit).

Their brief urges the Court to order an evidentiary hearing in District Court, arguing that “Mr. Davis’ petition for an original writ meets this Court’s exceptional circumstances test because Mr. Davis can make an extraordinary showing through new, never reviewed evidence that strongly points to his innocence, and thus his execution would violate the Constitution.”

Davis’ attorneys filed a writ of habeas corpus with the Court, pursuant to its original jurisdiction, asking for the same hearing. Davis has a significant amount of new evidence pointing to his innocence that has never been fully reviewed in court. He was sentenced to death primarily on eyewitness testimony, but 7 of the 9 eyewitnesses have recanted their testimony and some evidence points to one of the two remaining witnesses as the person who committed the murder.

Source: Death Penalty Information Center, May 21, 2009

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