Top Belarusian opposition figure Babariko, once tipped as successor to Lukashenko, handed 14 years in prison over fraud claims | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Top Belarusian opposition figure Babariko, once tipped as successor to Lukashenko, handed 14 years in prison over fraud claims

Viktor Babariko, a veteran Belarusian opposition figurehead barred from standing in last year’s presidential election, has been sentenced to 14 years behind bars after officials in the country accused him of fraud and corruption.

His supporters believe the charges, launched after he attempted to run against incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko in the 2020 contest, are politically motivated.

On Tuesday, state news agency BelTA reported that a court in Minsk had announced the verdict against the former chairman of Belgazprombank, a financial institution owned by Russian investors with links to the country’s Gazprom oil giant, and based in Belarus. “According to the scale of these crimes and the combination of punishments, Babariko will serve 14 years in a high-security prison colony,” judge Igor Lyubovitsky said.

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