Saudi Arabia bags two gold medals, 2 silvers in GCC Games    Saudi Athletes Achieve Great Victories in the 2nd Day of the GCC Games Tournament in Kuwait    Director of Islamic Affairs of Al-Madinah Branch Receives General Mufti of Kosovo    Saudi Arabia Strongly Condemns Terrorist Attacks on Military Base of African Union Peacekeeping Forces in Somalia    Cabinet congratulates Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed on becoming UAE president    DGDA, Riyadh Third Health Cluster sign MoU to provide healthcare services in Diriyah    City Walk Receives Entertainment and Event Enthusiasts within Jeddah Season with Exciting Shows    Historic Jeddah Zone Attracts Visitors By Distinctive and Historical Shows    Jeddah Pier, the greatest amusement park on the sea, welcomes its visitors with delight and joy during the "Jeddah Season."    Riyadh to host first conference of IAEE in Middle East    EU ready to defend Finland and Sweden in event of Russian attack amid NATO bids    Heavy rains trigger floods in northeast India, killing 8    Guterres calls for 'swift formation' of inclusive Lebanese government    'Saudi women's participation in economic activities reach highest level with 35.6%'    UAE president, vice president congratulate King Salman on being discharged from hospital    Kay Mellor: Actress and Fat Friends creator dies aged 71    OIC Secretary General Receives Permanent Representative of Guinea-Bissau to OIC    Jeddah Jungle Welcomes Visitors with Thrilling Safari Experiences    Egypt to Host 2022 Annual Meetings of Islamic Development Bank Group in Sharm El Sheikh    Saudi Stock Exchange Main Index Ends Trading Lower at 12,689.87 Points    Ruler of Ajman Congratulates Custodian of Two Holy Mosques on Being Discharged from Hospital    KSrelief Distributes 3,121 Food Baskets to 18,726 Individuals in Hargeisa, Somaliland    Foreign direct investment in Saudi Arabia to jump 20 times by 2030: Al-Falih KSA develops business environment through massive reforms    Saudi delegation concludes partnerships with US capacity building companies    How cricket-crazy India scripted world badminton glory    Sri Lanka down to last day of petrol, warns new PM    Asian Shares Advance    Twitter boss hits back on Musk doubts over fake accounts    Abdulghani clinches first gold for Saudi Arabia in Gulf Games    Jazan Hosts West Asian Beach Soccer Championship    Gulf Health Council: Large sunglasses give better UVA protection    Former Australia cricketer Symonds dies aged 46 in car crash    Saudi citizen turns attention to sports after retirement    5 Arab women filmmakers receive Netflix grant    Over 250 Saudi Female and Male Players to Participate in Kuwait 3rd GCC Games on Friday    Saudi Deaf Athletics Team Leaves for Brazil    Bollywood actor's tweet reignited debate over Hindi as India's national language    SFDA Advises to Wash Dates Well Before Eating    SFDA Advises Against Mixing Surplus of Iftar and Suhoor with Different Foods or Surplus from Other Days    Ministry calls on imams to avoid long supplications in Tahajjud Prayer    Nothing wrong with a Muslim celebrating birthdays, says Saudi scholar    Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt: Bollywood wishes for star couple on wedding    SFDA Warns Against Microbes Accumulation on Coffee when Stored Incorrectly    SFDA: Over-roasting or roasting is not an indication of the level of food and may cause harm to human health    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques addresses citizens and all Muslims on the occasion of the Holy month of Ramadan    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers at Arafat Holy Site    Council of Senior Scholars: Muslim Brothers' Group Don't Represent Method of Islam, rather only Follows its Partisan Objectives, Violating our Graceful Religion    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



Lukashenko visits his rivals in Belarus prison
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 11 - 10 - 2020

Belarus' authoritarian president on Saturday visited a prison to talk to opposition activists, who have been jailed for challenging his re-election that was widely seen as manipulated and triggered two months of protests.
President Alexander Lukashenko spent more than four hours talking to his jailed political foes at the Minsk prison that belongs to Belarus' State Security Committee, which still goes under its Soviet-era name, KGB.
Lukashenko's office said "The goal of the president was to hear everyone's opinion." Among 11 jailed activists who attended the meeting were several members of the opposition's Coordination Council and Viktor Babariko, the former head of a major Russia-owned bank.
Babariko aspired to challenge Lukashenko but was barred from the race and remained in jail since his arrest in May on charges he dismissed as political.
Lukashenko's landslide re-election in the Aug. 9 vote was widely seen as manipulated amid widespread public frustration with the Belarusian leader's 26-year authoritarian rule, his cavalier response to the coronavirus pandemic and the deteriorating economy.
A violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in the first days after the vote, in which thousands were arrested and hundreds were beaten by police, provoked international outrage and helped swell protesters' ranks.
The main opposition challenger in the vote, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who left for Lithuania after the election under pressure from authorities, cast Lukashenko's visit to prison as a result of continuing demonstrations and urged keeping up a push for new elections.
"With this meeting, Lukashenko recognized the existence of political prisoners whom he previously dismissed as criminals," she said in a statement. "Today's event is a result of our pressure."
The European Union and the United States said the election was neither free nor fair. They have slapped scores of Belarusian officials with sanctions for their role in the alleged vote-rigging and the crackdown on protests, but didn't target Lukashenko himself.
EU members Poland and Lithuania have been especially outspoken in their support for Belarusian opposition politicians, leading to diplomatic tensions that have included Belarus' government expelling Polish and Lithuanian diplomats. Those two countries responded by withdrawing their ambassadors to Minsk.
Late Friday, Britain temporarily recalled its ambassador to Belarus, Jacqueline Perkins, in response to the Belarusian government's decision to expel the Polish and Lithuanian diplomats.
The government has sought to stifle protests by detaining hundreds of demonstrators, prosecuting some top activists and forcing others to leave the country. However, massive demonstrations have continued, reaching their peak numbers on Sundays when up to 100,000 flood the streets of the Belarusian capital, Minsk. Another big protest is planned for this Sunday.
Hundreds of women marched through the Belarusian capital on Saturday to protest against political repressions and demand a new election. Several participants in the rally were detained.
Pavel Latushko, a former culture minister and ambassador to France, who joined the opposition's Coordination Council and was pressured by authorities to leave the country, said that the meeting reflected the Belarusian leader's weakness.
"Lukashenko was forced to sit down at the negotiation table with the people whom he jailed," Latushko said in a statement, demanding the release of all political prisoners.
Observers saw Lukashenko's visit to prison as part of his efforts to steal the protesters' thunder by offering vaguely-described reforms, such as his proposal to draft a new constitution. During the meeting in prison, Lukashenko emphasized that "the constitution can't be written in the streets," his office said without offering other details of the meeting.
"After two months of protests and harsh repressions, Lukashenko is moving to de-escalate the situation," said Valery Karbalevich, an independent Minsk-based political expert. — Euronews


Clic here to read the story from its source.