Svetlana tsikhanovskaïa: “It’s mistake to see Belarus separately from Ukraine”

The head of the Belarusian opposition in exile granted an interview to the “world” on the eve of his trial in absentia, Tuesday, in Minsk.

by Faustine Vincent

After having brutally repressed the opponents inside Belarus, Alexandre Loukachenko attacks those who fled abroad after his fraudulent re -election to the presidential election of August 2020, which had triggered a movement of unprecedented dispute. The trial in absentia of his rival during the election, Svetlana Tsikhanovskaïa, opens Tuesday January 17 in Minsk. The head of the opposition in exile, 40, faces ten counts, including that of “conspiracy aimed at seizing power”. It faces 15 to 20 years in prison.

“I do not expect anything from this trial, because we know that it will be neither honest nor just, she explains to the world by videoconferencing from her office in Vilnius, Lithuania. The judicial system has become A war machine targeting all those who denounce the dictator. “Other opponents refugee abroad will be tried on the same day, including the politician Pavel Latouchko.

svetlana tsikhanovskaïa is one of the very first to be judged in absentia. This practice has become possible since Mr. Loukachenko signed a law to this effect in July 2022. A second law, promulgated on January 5, 2023, made it possible to withdraw their citizenship from the Belarusses in exile deemed guilty of “participation in Activities of an extremist or that have caused harm to the interests of Belarus “, a crime of which the leader of the opposition is also accused.

This legislative strengthening specifically targets the many Belarusses in exile. “There will be thousands of people who will be illegally deprived of their citizenship, anticipates M me tsikhanovskaïa, who specifies that they do not have refugee status, like most of these exiles. The countries that welcome us And the whole European Union will face this problem. “To avoid the multiplication of stateless persons, it offers the EU the implementation of a” passport of the new Belarus ” – Understanding democratic.

The prospect of a free Belarorus is however more distant than ever since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The Belarusian territory became the rear base of the Russian troops and Alexandre Loukachenko, the vassal of Vladimir Putin, to whom he owes his political survival. For the opposition, new challenges appeared: “We have gone from the status of hero of the nation to co-agressor”, deplores Svetlana Tsikhanovskaïa. Those who have erected against the Loukachenko regime pay the price. They are now regularly confused with the one they fight. “It took us so long to explain that the Belarusian regime and the population are two different things and ensure that the visa ban is not targeting Belarusians!”

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/Media reports cited above.