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…

Iran: Two Hanged in Southern Iran; Man Executed at Shiraz Prison

Iran execution
Iran Human Rights (IHR); November 26, 2019: Two prisoners were executed at the central prison of the southern Iranian city of Bandar Abbas on November 12.

According to Iran Human Rights sources, prisoners Jassem Heidari, 29, and Jamshid Torkashvand were executed for murder charges on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at Bandar Abbas Central Prison.

“Jassem and Jamshid were in prison for three and four years respectively,” a well-informed source told IHR, “they were both sentenced to death for murder charges.”

Man Executed at Shiraz Prison

Iran Human Rights (IHR); November 26, 2019: A prisoner was executed at Shiraz prison for murder charges on November 17.

According to Iran Human Rights sources, prisoner Ebrahim Yar Hosseini was executed at Shiraz Central Prison (also known as Adel Abad prison) on the morning of Sunday, November 17.

“Ebrahim was arrested around four years ago for murdering a man. Ebrahim’s family were negotiating with the victim’s mother to win her consent. However, [it seems the negotiations were not fruitful and] he was transferred for the execution,” a well-informed source told IHR.

According to the Iranian Islamic Penal Code (IPC) murder is punishable by qisas which means “retribution in kind” or retaliation. 

In this way, the State effectively puts the responsibility of the death sentence for murder on the shoulders of the victim’s family. 

In qisas cases, the plaintiff has the possibility to forgive or demand diya (blood money). In many cases, the victim's family are encouraged to put the rope is around the prisoner's neck and even carry out the actual execution by pulling off the chair the prisoner is standing on.

Out of the 110 people who were executed in the first half of 2019, 83 were sentenced to qisas (retribution in-kind) for murder.

Source: Iran Human Rights, Staff, November 26, 2019

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