A Belarusian court sentenced this Monday to 12 years in prison for the former Olympic swimmer Aliaksandra Herasimenia and the political activist Alexander Opeykin after having been found guilty of allegedly committing actions intended to cause damage to national security.
The Minsk City Court condemned them for creating the association Belarusian Sports Solidarity Fund and spread “deliberately false informationthrough the media and the Internet about the events that took place during the election campaign by 2020 electionaccording to information from the state agency BelTA.
“They have been found guilty of making public calls to commit actions aimed at causing harm to the national security of Belarus, including the use of restrictive measures (sanctions) against Belarus, natural and legal persons of the republic”, wields the text of the sentence. .
Aliaxandra Herasimeniaa three-time Olympic medalist during the London Olympics (2012) and the Rio de Janeiro Olympics (2016), he must serve his sentence in a general jail. Meanwhile, Opeykin will have to enter a reinforced regime prison, according to the aforementioned agency.
This sentence comes more than a year after the Belarusian Olympian Krystsina Tsimanouskaya denounced in the japan olympics that the authorities of his country were forcing to leave Japan against your will.
The 200-meter runner had previously been vocal in her criticism of the belarusian committee, which is run by the son of the country’s president, for forcing her to run in a relay event on short notice. The Belarusian Olympic team later announced that she had been withdrawn from the competition due to her “emotional and psychological state”.
Belarus was shaken by huge protests after the disputed elections of August 2020, which Lukashenko claims to have won and which are considered fraudulent both by the Belarusian opposition and by West. The authorities responded to the protests with a strong repression where more than 35,000 people they were arrested and thousands were beaten by police officers. As a result, the West imposed punitive economic sanctions.
In addition to the prison sentence, the court ordered the confiscation of Herasimenia’s apartment, her car and $48,000 that he had in his bank accounts.
According to the main Belarusian human rights group, Viasnathere are 1,439 political prisoners currently in the country.
The opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskayawho has also been persecuted and lives in exile in Lithuania, condemned the sentences imposed on Herasimenia and Opeikin on Monday.
“A shame! … This is how the regime tries to punish opponents in exile,” Tsikhanouskaya tweeted. “The regime can’t stop them, but they confiscated their property in Belarus, including a car and an apartment.”
(With information from Europa Press)