Associates Of Jailed Belarusian Blogger Tsikhanouski Given Prison Terms.

HRODNA, Belarus -- Three associates of jailed Belarusian blogger Syarhey Tsikhanouski, the husband of opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, have been handed prison terms in the western city of Hrodna as the authorities continue to tighten their clampdown on dissent.

The court on June 2 sentenced Uladzimer Kniha to four years in a maximum-security prison, Yauhen Raznichenka to 3 1/2 years, and Dzmitry Furmanau to two years in a general security prison.

Judge Volha Bekushava found the three guilty of organizing mass disorder. Raznichenka and Kniha were also found guilty of assaulting police.

The defendants were arrested in late May 2020 after police intervened at public events in Hrodna to collect signatures to support Tsikhanouski's bid to become president.

Tsikhanouski was arrested at the same time and charged later with the organization and preparation of actions that severely violated public order and disrupting the work of the Central Election Committee.

Tsikhanouski is the owner of a popular YouTube channel called The Country For Life, which criticized the authorities.

Crisis In Belarus

Read our coverage as Belarusians continue to demand the resignation of Alyaksandr Lukashenka amid a brutal crackdown on protesters. The West refuses to recognize him as the country's legitimate leader after an August 9 election considered fraudulent.

When Tsikhanouski's candidacy was rejected by election officials, his wife took over and ran in the presidential election.

She was the main challenger to Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has run the country since 1994.

The results of the August election that Lukashenka claims to have won sparked mass protests, with Tsikhanouskaya's supporters and opposition figures accusing the authoritarian ruler of rigging the vote and that their candidate was the victor.

Since then, Lukashenka has overseen a violent crackdown on protesters by law enforcement, detaining thousands -- including media members -- and injuring scores.

The European Union and the United States have refused to recognize Lukashenka as the legitimate ruler of Belarus, characterizing the election as fraudulent.

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
Conflict spurs famine in Ethiopia’s Tigray region

Conflict spurs famine in Ethiopia’s Tigray region

ABC News’ Ian Pannell reports on how food is being used as a weapon of war in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

HHS Secretary on reaching vaccine goals, shoring up Obamacare.

HHS Secretary on reaching vaccine goals, shoring up Obamacare.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra discusses the Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act, and efforts to vaccinate more Americans.

Navigating travel troubles amid flight cancellations.

Navigating travel troubles amid flight cancellations.

The Points Guy Brian Kelly discusses what to do if your flight is canceled, and summer travel tips for flying to the E.U. as travel restrictions are lifted for Americans.

Big deals with retail giants amid Prime Day competition.

Big deals with retail giants amid Prime Day competition.

Smart shopping expert Trae Bodge weighs in on the deals and potential savings as retail giants have dueling discounts this week.

Americans adjust to life after lockdown

Americans adjust to life after lockdown

At least 45 states have completely reopened after months of COVID-19 restrictions. Now, many Americans are facing uncertainty about how to navigate public life this summer. Clinical and public safety psychologist Dr. Katherine Kuhlman joined CBSN'...

Hannity: New York Times should give Pulitzer back for malpractice.

Hannity: New York Times should give Pulitzer back for malpractice.

'Hannity' host takes aim at 'full time Donald Trump stalker' Maggie Haberman for weighted coverage. #FoxNews #Hannity Tucker Carlson Tonight' host discusses the CNN host claiming US is a 'racist country' while living in community lacking diversity...