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…

Murderers to face firing squad in Dubai

Dubai’s highest court upholds death sentence against duo who killed compatriot.

Dubai: Two Bangladeshi men who killed their compatriot and stole his cigarettes have lost their appeal and will face a firing squad.

On Monday the two defendants, 27-year-old M.G. and 22-year-old R.N., failed to convince the Dubai Cassation Court to reduce their sentence after contending they killed the victim in self-defence.

Court records said the defendants planned the murder and lured the victim, identified as Rahimuldeen, to meet them in a sandy spot behind their labour accommodation in Al Rashidiya. They then battered his head with a metal rod and a concrete block. They also kicked and beat him until they were sure he was dead. The defendants also stole Rahimuldeen’s cigarettes, mobile phone and wallet.

A third Bangladeshi suspect, R.A., was cleared of involvement in the murder.

“I assaulted him but that was in self-defence. I defended myself after we exchanged blows. He attacked me first and I hit him back,” said M.G., who records said suffered an injury to his left arm.

R.N. pleaded not guilty citing self-defence. R.A. denied any involvement in the murder or theft.

Financial dispute

According to court records, the victim’s brother, S.A., said the murder was discovered after a financial dispute as M.G. owed his brother Dh3,500.

“Rahimuldeen lent M.G. money that the latter failed to pay back within two months. I saw them fighting once when we were in the market. They also fought a second time in the room which we shared. I was worried when my brother did not return from his night shift. His mobile phone was switched off. M.G. answered in a suspicious manner when I asked him about my brother’s whereabouts. M.G. didn’t participate with us in searching for my brother. Rahimuldeen’s body was discovered behind the accommodation,” S.A. said.

Court records said investigations led to the arrest of the three defendants.

During prosecution and police questioning, the defendants confessed that they fought with Rahimuldeen and beat him.

The defendant’s court-appointed lawyers contended their clients did not intend to murder their victim.

They asked the court to modify the charges from murder to assault which led to Rahimuldeen’s death.

Source: GulfNews, November 26, 2013

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