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…

New details of Iranian regime torturing Reyhaneh Jabbari revealed by her uncle

Reyhaneh Jabbari
NCRI – In the first public remarks from a close relative of Reyhaneh Jabbari, new details of the Iranian regime torturing her physically and psychologically, starting immediately after her arrest in 2009, have been revealed.

During a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday, Ms. Reyhaneh Jabbari’s uncle, Fariborz Jabbari, described her execution as "state terror".

He said, "Reyhaneh was physically and psychologically tortured by security officers a number of times during her imprisonment and forced her to make coercive confessions."

He said that even moments before her hanging "prison officials asked Reyhaneh to say in front of the camera that Morteza Abdullali Sarbandi [the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security official who was killed] did not try to sexually assault her, but she refused to do so until the last minute."

Fariborz Jabbari stressed that "Numerous cases of violations of human rights have taken place since Reyhaneh was arrested up until she was executed and even continued during her burial,” according to German broadcaster, Deutsche Welle .

He added: "Although Reyhaneh’s case was not political, the way judges and security authorities handled the case was suspicious, especially since the girl was tortured in solitary confinement since the early days of her arrest, in order to exert pressure on her to make false confessions."

Jabbari stressed that "there were no relationship between Reyhaneh and the man killed, and she met him only three times during her work as a decorator when he asked her to do design work at his medical office."

He added, "Although Sarbandi was a doctor, he was not working in that field, but was in the business of trading instruments and medical devices."

He said it was not clear to the family if Sarbandi had still been working for the intelligence ministry.

Reyhaneh’s uncle said her family was not informed about the timing of Reyhaneh’s execution and her lawyer was not allowed to meet with her before execution.

Her mother Mrs. Sholeh Pakravan was only allowed to see her face for a moment after she had been executed, he said.

Source: NCRI, October 31, 2014

Iranian official blames Western media for woman's execution

Iranian Human Rights Commissioner Mohammad Javad Larijani named Western media campaigns as one of the chief reasons that the Iranian judiciary failed to obtain consent from the family of the victim in the Reyhaneh Jabbari case.

Larijani, who is in Geneva to attend the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review, told CNN on October 30 that Reyhaneh Jabbari's case was investigated for 7 years. The case was brought before several judges who were never convinced by her claim of self defence.

"All the judges that sat on her case in the past 7 years have ruled that she has committed premeditated murder and her claims of self defence were not convincing," Larijani said.

Jabbari was arrested at the age of 19 for the murder of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi. She was hanged last Saturday after a series of mediation sessions with the family of the victim failed to yield a consent from the deceased's kin to forego their right to Qesas and release her from execution.

Human rights activists had launched a campaign to stop her execution, drawing widespread media attention to Jabbari's case.

Source: Radio Zamaneh, October 31, 2014

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