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 | 21-year-old Majid Choupani executed in Qazvin Prison

Iran Human Rights (IHR); July 25, 2020: A prisoner, sentenced to qisas (retribution in-kind) for "premeditated murder" was executed in Qazvin Central Prison (Choubindar) on July 14, making him the second person to have been executed in Qazvin Prison that day.

According to Iran Human Rights, on the morning of Tuesday, July 14, a 21-year-old prisoner on death row was executed in Qazvin Central Prison. 

The identity of the prisoner has been established as Majid Choupani, who was sentenced to retribution in kind for "premeditated murder".

"Majid Choupani was sentenced to death for the murder of a Nissan driver," an informed source told IHR. "In his confession, he said that the man intended to sexually assault him." 

The source also said that the incident took place in an abandoned field in Takestan, Qazvin and that the murder weapon was a piece of rock.

The source added: "Majid had said that I didn’t strike him with the intention of killing him and only intended to hit him to get rid of him, but was forced to flee. When he realised that he didn’t have a pulse and was dead, he was scared and shocked and ran away. After 40 hours, in his own words, he felt guilty and surrendered and confessed at the Qazvin police station."

Majid Choupani was a Qazvin native and was working as a labourer prior to his arrest.

On July 15, Iran Human Rights published news of the execution of Ali Tavousi, a 35-year-old prisoner who had also been sentenced to retribution in kind for "premeditated murder”. 

News of Majid’s execution makes him the second person to have been executed in Qazvin Prison that day. 

The execution of these two prisoners has not been announced by domestic media and or officials at the time of publishing this article.

According to Iran Human Rights’ annual report, at least 225 of the 280 of those executed in 2019 were charged with "premeditated murder."

As there are no legal distinctions made between murder and manslaughter, whether voluntary or involuntary in Iran, those charged under the umbrella term of “premeditated murder” will receive the death penalty regardless of intent (mens rea) and the circumstances.

Source: iranhr.net, Staff, July 25, 2020

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