Belarus: a criminal case involves a growing number of the regime's critics
As the presidential election on 9 August approaches in Belarus, the authorities are stepping up their crackdown on all dissent without pause. On 30 July, they announced a new criminal investigation against prominent video blogger and opposition politician Syarhei Tsikhanouski. He is accused of “incitement of racial, ethnic, religious or other social hatred, committed by a group or causing death or other severe consequences” under Article 130(3) of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. If found guilty, he faces between five and twelve years of imprisonment. Details of the accusations are secret, but information available to Amnesty International indicates that these charges are fabricated with the sole purpose of stopping Tsikhanouski’s and his wife Svyatlana’s legitimate political activities. This case is a part of a larger campaign targeting the activist, his supporters, bloggers, and government critics.