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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…

First Woman To Be Executed in the United Arab Emirates?

Last week, the Supreme Court of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) upheld the death sentences of a woman and three men who were convicted for crimes they committed as minors. The four individuals, Khawla, Fahd, Mukhtar, Abdullah Hussein, are now waiting in Sharjah central prison for confirmation as to whether they will face execution by firing squad.

Khawla, her alleged boyfriend, Fahd and 2 others had been sentenced to death in 2003 for premeditated murder of Khawla's husband in 2003. At the time of the killing, Khawla, Mukhtar and Hussein were 17 years old. Khawla confessed to the police at the day of the crime and the others arrested the next day.

Under the UAE domestic law the family of a victim can accept retribution or 'blood money' and pardon those founded guilty for murder. In UAE the amount of the ‘blood money’ is fixed at approximately $45,000. The parents of the victim have refused to pardon the offenders and seek capital punishment for them. The death penalty is the ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights and Amnesty International opposes it under all circumstances.

Please go to http://ecomplaint.moj.gov.ae/WComplaintEnglish.aspx and write to Dr. Hadef bin Jua’an Al Dhaheri, minister of justice, asking to commute all the 4 death sentences.

Source: Amnesty International; Alireza Azizi, Country Specialist for United Arab Emirates, contributed to this post, April 27, 2010

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