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

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…

UAE: Janitor rapist gets death penalty

50-year-old who raped seven-year-old girl on school premises sentenced to death.

Abu Dhabi: A man who was found guilty of raping a seven-year-old Emirati pupil on her school premises has been sentenced to death, the Criminal Court of First Instance ruled in the capital on Monday.

According to court documents, after returning home from school one day earlier this year, the victim displayed signs of sexual abuse.

“Her aunt who is accustomed to giving her a bath after school, asked her to remove her trousers. Upon refusing to do so, and after her aunt’s insistence, traces of blood and semen were found in the girl’s underpants,” Hussain Al Jaziri, the plaintiff’s lawyer said during the trial’s closing arguments.

The victim had been sent to the administration office to deliver some papers by her class teacher, who was believed to have left the country days before the defendant was arrested.

Seeing her walk by, the accused, in his 50s, who was also a former janitor at the girl’s private school, reportedly took her into the school’s kitchen where he continued to molest her. He then threatened to kill her and her mother if she told anyone about the incident.

Lawyers had cited the girl’s unsupervised presence in the school to be the direct reason for the aggressor’s actions.
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The defence team had argued that a DNA and blood test were not conducted to link the suspect to the crime. However, the accused had confessed to his crimes claiming that he possessed feelings of affection towards the victim, according to court documents.

“Hopefully this verdict will provide the victim’s family with closure and security knowing that justice was served. I also urge parents and child caretakers everywhere to promptly report any act of aggression or abuse taken against their children as refraining from reporting these incidents only protects the offender,” Al Jaziri told Gulf News. The verdict is subject to appeal.

Source: Gulf News, July 30, 2013

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