A court in Belarus has sentenced the husband of opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the main opponent of President Alexander Lukashenko, to 18 years in prison.
Blogger and activist Sergei Tikhanovski is held responsible for large-scale disturbances, according to state media. However, he has denied the allegations.
Authorities arrested Tikhanovski last year in the run-up to the presidential election. He actually wanted to participate himself, but his politically inexperienced wife ran as a candidate after his arrest. He turned out to be the main rival of Lukashenko, who has been in power in Eastern European Belarus since 1994.
Lukashenko won last year’s elections according to the official results by force majeure, which led to enormous unrest. Many people believed that fraud had taken place.
Lukashenko’s security forces cracked down on protesting civilians, prompting the European Union to impose sanctions on his regime. This led to a conflict in which Belarus directed large groups of migrants to the external border with the EU.