Belarus Demands Extradition of Opposition Leader Tikhanovskaya

Belarus said on Friday it had requested the extradition of exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was forced from the country during a crackdown on critics of leader Alexander Lukashenko.

Tikhanovskaya, who challenged Lukashenko in last year’s presidential vote that the opposition said was rigged, sought refuge in EU member Lithuania as the crackdown intensified on anti-government demonstrations in her home country.

The Belarus General Prosecutor’s Office said on Friday it had requested that Lithuania extradite her “to face prosecution for crimes against the governing order, public safety and the state.”

Investigators said this week that Tikhanovskaya, who stood in the August vote in place of her jailed husband, had planned with associates to instigate riots and capture government buildings in the second city Gomel.

Tikhanovskaya has dismissed the claims.

Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis responded that his country “has been and will be a brick wall behind which all democratic forces persecuted by regimes will find refugee.”

“We can say only one thing to the Belarusian regime: hell will first have to freeze over before we consider your requests,” he said.

EU sanctions

Journalists and rights defenders are facing a slew of legal cases, which have been condemned by international advocacy groups.

Dozens of media and rights workers had their homes and offices searched last month and several journalists were recently handed jail terms after reporting on the protests and the opposition crackdown.

Thousands were detained at spontaneous protests that followed Lukashenko’s claim to a landslide victory and a sixth term in the August vote.

In exile, Tikhanovskaya been meeting EU leaders and representatives of Western countries. She was expected in Geneva this weekend.

The European Union has slapped sanctions on Lukashenko and his allies but the long-standing Belarus leader has strong support from Moscow and has refused to step down. 

(c) The Moscow Times

2 comments

  • Luka is a lover of Hitler and Stalin. He isn’t going to leave. Except in a box. The tiny poisoner next door will continue his rule by proxy.

    Liked by 5 people

  • “Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis responded that his country “has been and will be a brick wall behind which all democratic forces persecuted by regimes will find refugee.”

    “We can say only one thing to the Belarusian regime: hell will first have to freeze over before we consider your requests,” he said.

    Well said, and legal. Extradition is forbidden for political purposes. The woman chose wisely in which country to hide in, had she gone to Germany, or one of the other Russian asswipe countries, she would be on the first plane out. Russia need her out of the way, to make sure there is no opposition to hinder their takeover of Belarus.

    Liked by 5 people

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