| 28 May 2024, Tuesday |

Belarus puts exiled opposition leader on trial on treason charges

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, an exiled opposition leader, was put on trial for treason in Belarus on Tuesday, in what the vocal opponent of seasoned leader Alexander Lukashenko called a “farce and a performance.”

After challenging Lukashenko in the 2020 presidential election, which was followed by widespread protests over alleged electoral fraud, Tsikhanouskaya, 40, left Belarus. She might spend up to 15 years behind bars.

Following a crackdown on protesters, she became the head of an opposition-in-exile and denounced the election after Lukashenko, in power since 1994, declared himself the winner.

Tsikhanouskaya, who now lives in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, told Reuters in the Swiss resort of Davos that she did not expect the trial to be fair.

“In Belarus there are no honest trials. We live in absolute lawlessness in our country so tomorrow’s trial will be a farce and a show but not real justice,” Tsikhanouskaya said on Monday in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

She said she had asked for the necessary documents from the court-appointed lawyer, but had not received anything.

  • Reuters