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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…

Saudi Arabia: death row Filipino may be saved by blood money

The Saudi Reconciliation Committee (SRC) has announced that 37-year-old Rodelio “Don Don” Lanuza who is on death row and currently detained at the Dammam Central Jail could be saved from execution if blood money is paid to the family of his victim in two months' time.

“A member of the SRC told me on Monday that it took them six years to convince the aggrieved family to forgive Lanuza in exchange for blood money,” John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, told Arab News on Tuesday.

Lanuza was convicted of and detained in November 2000 for killing a Saudi national in what he claimed was self-defense.

Monterona added, however, that Lanuza is worried that the aggrieved family may change their mind unless the money is paid.

“On behalf of Lanuza and his wife and 2 kids, Migrante-Middle East is calling on President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino lll to raise the needed money,” he said.

He added that this is a good opportunity for him to prove his critics wrong in saying that he's not giving enough attention to the concerns of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

On Sunday, Migrante-Middle East gave a “failing grade to President Aquino for unsatisfactory rating in his first year in office."

Monterona said that on Monday, he received a text message from Lanuza saying that the “embassy seemed to be sleeping on his case.” Arab News called Ambassador-designate Ezzedin H. Tago to get the embassy’s side but he was out of the Kingdom.

Monterona also said the SRC told him that no embassy representative attended the meeting on Monday night, during which an update on the blood money would have been discussed.

Other OFWs on death row and whose cases being monitored by Migrante-Middle East include brothers Rolando and Edison Gonzales, Eduardo Arcilla, Joselito Zapanta, Carlito Rana.

Source: Arab News, June 29, 2011
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