One of the main Belarusian opposition leaders sentenced to 14 years in prison. The judges found Babariko, in preventive detention since June 18, 2020, guilty of receiving large bribes and money laundering.
The Belarus Supreme Court today sentenced businessman Viktor Babariko , a former candidate for the country’s Presidency last year, and one of the main leaders of the opposition to Belarusian President Alexandr Lukashenko, to 14 years in prison .
The judges found Babariko, in pretrial detention since June 18, 2020, guilty of receiving large bribes and money laundering, in a trial that was held behind closed doors.
The 57-year-old opposition figure, declared a political prisoner by human rights organizations, was arrested while collecting signatures to present his candidacy for the presidential elections in August 2020.
A hundred people approached the headquarters of the Supreme Court to express their support for Babariko, and only a small part of them were allowed into the room where the sentence was read.
“I cannot plead guilty to crimes that I have not committed. I do not feel ashamed before my family because I have not committed any illegality,” Babariko said last week at the hearing where the trial was seen for sentencing. The Belarusian Prosecutor General’s Office had requested a 15-year sentence for the opponent.
“The cruel farce of the Belarusian judicial system has been in evidence with the conviction, which shows that the Lukashenko regime stops at nothing to preserve power,” the US embassy in Minsk noted on Twitter.
In turn, the leader of the Belarusian opposition in exile, Svetlana Tijanóvskaya, described as “insane” in her Telegram account condemning Babariko, a “person who decided to dedicate himself to politics and became one of the leaders who woke up to the country of a prolonged lethargy. “