MINSK – The Minsk City Court has sentenced a Russian citizen to 11 years in prison for his alleged actions against the regime of Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

The tribunal delivered the verdict and conviction on December 27 against Yegor Dudnikov, 21, who claims that the police severely beat him after his arrest, for allegedly inciting hatred and calling for actions to injure Belarus.

Crisis in Belarus

Read our current coverage as Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka ramps up pressure on NGOs and independent media in a brutal crackdown on protesters and the opposition following an August 2020 election widely seen as fraudulent.

The accusations stem from the fact that Dudnikov allegedly participated in the preparation of online documents in connection with unprecedented mass rallies in Belarus to protest the official results of the August 2020 presidential election which gave Lukashenka a sixth term. consecutive.

Investigators say that from January to May, Dudnikov posted at least 55 messages about the protests on the Telegram channel operated by the so-called Belarusian Civic Self-Defense Groups (OGSB), an organization labeled extremist and banned in Belarus. in the wake of the demonstrations.

Dudnikov is among dozens of Belarusians who have been on trial in recent months after authorities brutally cracked down on dissent in any form following last year’s presidential election.

Human rights activists and opposition politicians say the poll was rigged to extend Lukashenka’s 26-year rule. Thousands of people have been arrested during protests across the country and credible reports of torture and ill-treatment by security forces. Several people died during the crackdown.

Many Belarusian opposition leaders have been arrested or forced to leave the country, while Lukashenka has refused to negotiate with the opposition.

The United States, the European Union and several other countries refused to recognize Lukashenka as the winner of the vote and imposed several rounds of sanctions on him and his regime, citing electoral fraud and police repression.