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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…

Iran: Five executed over drug charges

Iran Human Rights, February 27: According to the official Iranian media five prisoners have been hanged in three different Iranian cities. All the prisoners are convicted of drug-related charges.

Three prisoners hanged in the prison of Qazvin on February 24:

The official website of the Iranian judiciary in Qazvin reported that three prisoners were hanged in the prison of Qazvin on Sunday February 24. The prisoners were identified as "J." (33) charged with possession of 24 grams of cannabis and 440 grams of Shisheh; "M." (32) charged with possession of 223 grams of heroin and 412 grams of Shisheh and "M." (28) charged with possessing 470 grams of Shisheh.

One prisoner was hanged in the prison of Behbehan, southwestern Iran:

According to the official website of the Iranian judiciary in Khuzestan one prisoner was hanged in the prison of Behbehan Sunday February 24. The prisoner was identified as "A. Gh." and was convicted of trafficking of 3485 grams of crack, said the report.

One prisoner was hanged in the prison of Sari (northern Iran) today:

The official Iranian news agency IRNA reported that one prisoner was executed in the prison of Sari (northern Iran). The prisoner who was not identified by name was convicted of drug trafficking, said the report. No further details were given.

Source: Iran Human Rights, Feb. 27, 2013

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