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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…

Taiwan: Execution of death row inmates deliberated

Under pressure from a legislator to carry out executions of death row inmates, Minister of Justice Luo Ying-shay said Tuesday that her ministry will proceed cautiously in evaluating issues related to capital punishment.

Kuomintang lawmaker Wu Yu-sheng questioned Luo at a legislative hearing on Tuesday on why a government that stresses governing based on the rule of law has yet to execute 45 death row inmates who have exhausted all possible judicial remedies.

Wu said he was religious and felt bad about asking that death row inmates be executed, but he noted that capital punishment is legal in Taiwan and that there were currently 52 inmates on death row, some of whom were sentenced to death as long as 10 years ago.

Challenged by Wu on whether the ministry would conduct the executions, Luo said it would, but she stressed that it would carry out its duties prudently.

Luo said that since assuming her post, she has reviewed the cases of these death row prisoners to see whether they have applied for extraordinary appeals, constitutional interpretations or retrials for their cases.

Wu countered, however, that only seven death row inmates are seeking legal remedies, while the other 45 are on the list for immediate execution, and he demanded that Luo promise to activate procedures for the execution of these convicts.

Luo answered, "OK. We will follow our precedures."

Premier Jiang Yi-huah said, meanwhile, that he has discussed issues related to executions with Luo and reached a consensus that the death penalty would be carried out in accordance with the law if death row inmates had exhausted all possible remedies.

It will be up to the ministry, however, to decide when to carry out the executions, Jiang said.

Source: Focus Taiwan, Feb. 25, 2014

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