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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…

India's top court upholds death penalty for Mumbai attacks gunman

Kasab, one of 10 gunmen who laid siege to Mumbai in attacks that lasted nearly three days and killed 166 people, had appealed claiming he had not been given a fair trial.

New Delhi: India's Supreme Court on Wednesday confirmed the death sentence handed down to Mohammad Kasab, the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed.

Pakistan-born Kasab, one of 10 gunmen who laid siege to Mumbai in attacks that lasted nearly three days, had appealed against the sentence and claimed he had not been received a fair trial.

"We are left with no option but to award death penalty," the two judges said in a court order. "The primary and foremost offence committed by Kasab is waging war against the government of India."

The judges had opened the appeal by Kasab, who is being held in a maximum-security prison in Mumbai, in January.

He was found guilty in a Mumbai court on charges, including waging war against India, murder and terrorist acts, and was handed the death penalty in May 2010.

After losing his Supreme Court petition, Kasab is expected to lodge a final appeal for clemency with the president.

Source: AFP, August 29, 2012

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