Belarus Sentences in Absentia Former Olympian Swimmer To 12yrs In Prison

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(Last Updated On: 2022-12-27)

A court in Minsk has sentenced in absentia former Olympic swimmer Aliaksandra Herasimenia and political activist Alexander Opeykin to 12 years in prison for calling for sanctions and actions aimed at harming the national security of Belarus.

Ms Herasimenia, a three-time Olympic medallist, was among the elite athletes who fled Belarus in the wake of a crackdown against those who protested what they said was the fraudulent re-election of Alexander Lukashenko in August 2020.

Aleksander Opeykin is the chairman of the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation aimed at supporting athletes who have been detained and face repressions under Mr Lukashenko’s authoritarian rule.

Following their sentencing, a statement released by the state news BelTA agency read: “They were found guilty of public calls to commit actions aimed at causing harm to the national security of Belarus, including the use of restrictive measures (sanctions) against Belarus, individuals and legal entities of the republic.

“Such actions entailed grave consequences.”

According to the US embassy in Belarus, there are more than 1,300 political prisoners in Belarus.


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