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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…

USA | Executions Scheduled for Two Federal Inmates on Sep. 22 and 24

USP Terre Haute, Indiana
Attorney General William P. Barr today directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the executions of two federal death-row inmates who were each convicted of murder.

William Emmett LeCroy raped and murdered Joann Lee Tiesler, a 30-year-old nurse, in 2001. LeCroy had previously served 10 years in federal and state prison for, among other crimes, aggravated assault, burglary, child molestation, and statutory rape.  

After his release to supervised probation, LeCroy began planning to flee the country.  In furtherance of that plan, LeCroy broke into Tiesler’s home in Gilmer County, Georgia.  Once she returned home, LeCroy attacked her, bound her hands behind her back, strangled her with an electrical cord, and raped her.  Then he slashed her throat with a knife and stabbed her in the back five times.  

LeCroy then stole Tiesler’s vehicle and drove to the Canadian border, where he was arrested.  In March 2004, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia found LeCroy guilty of carjacking resulting in death and unanimously recommended a sentence of death.  His conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal, and his requests for collateral relief were rejected by every court that considered them.  

LeCroy’s execution is scheduled for Sept. 22, 2020.

Christopher Andre Vialva murdered youth ministers Todd and Stacie Bagley in 1999.  While stopping to use a payphone in Killeen, Texas, Todd Bagley agreed to give a ride to Vialva and two of his accomplices.  

In the victims’ car, Vialva pulled out a gun, forced the Bagleys into the trunk, and drove the vehicle for several hours, stopping at ATMs to withdraw money from the couple’s bank account and trying to pawn Stacie Bagley’s wedding ring.  

While locked in the trunk, the couple spoke with their abductors about God and pleaded for their lives.  Vialva eventually parked at a remote site on the Fort Hood, Texas, military reservation, where an accomplice doused the car with lighter fluid as the couple sang and prayed.  Vialva then shot Todd Bagley in the head, killing him instantly, and shot Stacie Bagley in the face, knocking her unconscious and leaving her to die of smoke inhalation after an accomplice set the car on fire.  

In June 2000, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas found Vialva guilty of, among other offenses, two counts of murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States and unanimously recommended two death sentences.  

His convictions and sentences were affirmed on appeal, and his requests for collateral relief were rejected by every court that considered them.  

Vialva’s execution is scheduled for Sept. 24, 2020.

The executions will take place at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Source: justice.gov, Press release, 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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