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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…

Iran: Two Executed in Mashhad; Young Man Executed For Murder; Juvenile Offender in Danger of Execution

Iran execution
Iran Human Rights (IHR); June 17, 2020: Two prisoners were hanged at Mashhad prison on Tuesday, June 9. They were sentenced to death for murder.

According to the Iranian news website ILNA, a man was hanged on June 9 at the central prison of Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi province.  

He was sentenced to death for murdering his father-in-law during a fight 9 years ago. 

His name was not revealed by the media outlet.

Another execution was carried out on the same day at Mashhad prison. 

According to Khorasan Daily, Hassan.A, a 51-year-old death row prisoner, was hanged for killing his lover’s husband. 

According to IHR’s Annual Report on the Death Penalty in Iran, at least 280 people were executed in Iran in 2019, including 225 for murder.

Man hanged at Ardabil prison


Iran Human Rights (IHR); June 17, 2020: A death row prisoner was hanged at Ardabil prison on Monday, June 15.

According to IHR sources, death row prisoner Iraj Sedighi was hanged at the central prison of Ardabil city, Ardabil province, on June 15, 2020. 

He was sentenced to death for murder three years ago.

Iraj was held in a prison ward allocated for young prisoners. 

He was 18 at the time of the crime.

Iranian authorities or media have not announced his execution so far. 

According to IHR’s Annual Report on the Death Penalty in Iran, at least 280 people were executed in Iran in 2019, including 225 for murder.

Juvenile in danger of execution


Iran Human Rights (IHR); June 17, 2020: Prisoner Ali Arjangi, has been sentenced to death for murder. 

He was 17 at the time of the alleged crime. 

Ali’s lawyer rejected murder charges and says it was conducted in self-defense.

According to IHR sources, death row prisoner Ali Arjangi has been sentenced to death for an alleged crime committed when he was under 18 years of age. He is held in the Central Prison of Ardabil city, northwestern Iranian province of Ardabil. 

IHR researchers have obtained documents proving that Ali was born on February 3, 2000. 

According to the Court documents, he was charged with murdering a man on May 8, 2017. 

However, a court in Ardabil sentenced him to death and the verdict has been upheld by the Supreme Court. 

Ali can be executed in the near future. 

Sources told IHR that forensics proved Ali’s “mental maturity” at the time of the crime. 

Under Article 91 of the Islamic Penal Code, judges are allowed to issue alternative verdicts for the minors. 

The juvenile offenders whom a judge considers not mature enough to realize the nature of the crime committed can face prison terms. 

However, according to Article 91 of Iran's revised Islamic Penal Code, it is up to the presiding judge's discretion to deem the juvenile mature enough to understand the nature of the offense:  "In the cases of offenses punishable by hadd or qisas, if mature people under eighteen years do not realize the nature of the crime committed or its prohibition, or if there is uncertainty about their full mental development, according to their age, they shall be sentenced to the punishments prescribed in this chapter." 

Otherwise, the Islamic Penal Code puts the age of criminal responsibility for males at 15 and 9 for females.

IHR once again emphasises that Article 91 in the revised Iranian Islamic Penal Code is not enough to stop juvenile executions. 

Iranian authorities must stop issuing death sentences for children with no exception.

So far in 2020, at least two juvenile-offenders have been executed in Iran. 

One juvenile offender has also been beaten to death by the prison guards in 2020. 

Another juvenile offender committed suicide hour before his execution.

Iran is among a few countries that execute juvenile offenders. 

In 2019, at least four juvenile offenders were executed in Iran. 

Source: Iran Human Rights, Staff, June 17, 2020


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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