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: Family of dead maid refuses to accept blood money

4 sentenced to death for rape and murder ordered to pay blood money

The Sharjah Appeals Court has ordered 4 Emirati men, who were spared the death penalty after being convicted of murder in 2009, to pay blood money to the victim's family.

The ruling was issued on Monday.

The ruling was issued by presiding Judge Abdullah Al Shamisi.

Sharjah Appeals Court found the 4 Emirati men guilty of the charge of raping and killing an Ethiopian housemaid and chopping her body into pieces.

Meanwhile, the victim's family refused to pardon the killers or accept the blood money.

In 2010, The Sharjah Court of First Instance issued the death penalty to A.M., 35, S.R., 32, H.A., 33, and A.J., 30, all Emiratis, for raping and killing an Ethiopian maid in what came to be known as the "Al Dhaid murder".

The verdict was handed down by Judge Yaqoub Al Hammadi and 2 other judges on the bench, Hussain Al Asoufi and Ahmad Awdh.

The Sharjah Police had earlier said it was one of the gravest crimes of its kind as it included rape, alcohol and murder.

According to court records, the 4 kidnapped an Ethiopian maid in Khor Fakkan, taped her mouth, pushed her into their Land Cruiser and took her to the desert in August 2009.

They raped her in Khor Fakkan, dragged her into their vehicle again, before driving to Al Dhaid mountains where the act was repeated.

Prosecutors said after raping her in Al Dhaid the men ran their SUV over her head and battered her with rocks before attempting to hide her body.

According to the police, in 2004, one of the killers had raped and killed a 13-year-old Pakistani girl with 2 other accomplices. They were all sentenced to death, but he was forgiven by the victim's father.

Cases involving capital punishment automatically go to appeal.

Representatives from the Ethiopian consul attended the session and followed up the case with court on the behalf of the family.

The next hearing will be on October 27 to issue a final verdict.

Source: Gulf News, Sept. 23, 2014

RAK victim's sons insist on death for killers

The sons of a man murdered in Ras Al Khaimah insisted in court on the execution of the two Arab killers of their father, rejecting an out-of-court diya (blood money) settlement, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The two Arabs had been arrested by the police on charges of murdering the Emirati man, in his 50s, while trying to rob him.

The Arabic language daily Al Khaleej said the victim’s son refused to accept diya, prompting the judge to adjourn hearings to October.

Source: Emirates 24/7, Sept. 24, 2014

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