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…

Indonesian Brothers Released From Death Row in Malaysian Self Defense Killing

Jakarta. Indonesian officials welcomed the release of two domestic workers sentenced to death in Malaysia on Tuesday, drawing to a close a protracted legal battle over the fate of two men who accidentally killed a home intruder during a scuffle at their employer’s home.

Brothers Frans Hiu and Dharry Hiu were sentenced to death in October of 2012 in a case that inspired outrage in both Indonesia and Malaysia. According to numerous reports on the case, the brothers were asleep in a Playstation rental shophouse in Selangor, Malaysia, when 26-year-old R. Khartic, high on drugs, broke into the room. He attacked the men, causing Dharry to flee the scene for help while his brother Frans grabbed Khartic by the neck and held him down.

The burglar lost consciousness and died while being restrained. The brothers, during their trial at the Shah Alam High Court, testified that they were attacked in their home and were acting in self defense when Khartic was killed. The court disagreed, sentencing the men to death by hanging on Oct. 18, 2012.

The case was seen as a failure of justice by some in Malaysia, a country currently struggling with a surge in violent crime. The nonprofit Malaysians Against Rape, Assault and Snatch (MARAH) questioned the verdict in a Oct. 27, 2012 op-ed for the domestic news portal Free Malaysia Today, asking why the courts would punish two men who, by all accounts, were protecting themselves from a violent criminal.

Source: The Jakarta Globe, January 28, 2014

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