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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…

Singapore: First convicted murderer to have bid for re-sentencing rejected by Court of Appeal since new law

A 39-year-old man who has been on death row for 5 years for knifing an elderly housewife more than 110 times in 2005 was on Monday denied the chance to escape the gallows.

Muhammad Kadar is the 1st convicted murderer to have his bid for re-sentencing rejected by the Court of Appeal since laws were changed last year giving judges the discretion to impose a life sentence instead of the death penalty for certain categories of murder.

Muhammad and his older brother Ismil 1st went on trial in 2006 for murdering their neighbour, Madam Tham Weng Kuen, 69, at her Boon Lay flat while robbing her.

The long-running trial, which lasted 3 years, saw many twists and turns, including Muhammad's stunning confession in court that he was the sole assailant although he had told police earlier that Mr Ismil was the main culprit.

Both were found guilty of murder by the High Court. Their appeal against convictions ended in a dramatic twist in 2011 when Mr Ismil was freed after the Court of Appeal cleared him of murder.

Earlier this month, Muhammad applied to the High Court for his case to be sent back to the High Court for re-sentencing. His lawyer Amarick Gill argued that the case fell within the category of murder with the intention of causing injury, which would have given him a chance to be re-sentenced to a life term.

But on Monday, the Court of Appeal dismissed Muhammad's bid, ruling that his crime amounted to murder with the intention to cause death which still carries the mandatory death penalty.

Previously cases of convicted murderers who were re-sentenced to life imprisonment include that of Malaysian Fabian Adiu Edwin, who killed a security guard, Chinese national Wang Wenfeng who killed a taxi driver and Bangladeshi Kamrul Hasan Abdul Quddus who killed his girlfriend.

Source: The Straits Times, Sept. 29, 2014

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