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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 | Inmate Executed at Sanandaj Prison

Iran execution
A prisoner on death row for qisas (retribution in-kind) on charges of "premeditated murder" was executed in Sanandaj Central Prison.

According to Iran Human Rights (IHR), the identity of the prisoner executed this morning has been established as Morteza Pirkhezri, 42. 

He had been sentenced to retribution in-kind for “premeditated murder”.

An informed source told IHR: "Morteza killed his friend over “honour” issues 5 years ago while he was using drugs. He fled to Iraqi Kurdistan after the incident and was a fugitive for 3 years. He later returned to Iran and surrendered himself to police at the request of his family."

At the time of publication, the execution of this prisoner has not been announced by local media or officials.

According to Iran Human Rights Annual Report on the Death Penalty in Iran, 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: Iran Human Rights, Staff, July 31, 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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