Belarus opposition to compile ‘book of crimes’

International

Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya listens, during a bilateral visit, in Stockholm, Sweden, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. Tsikhanouskaya met with Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde. (Claudio Bresciani/TT News Agency via AP)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Belarus’ opposition will compile a register of law enforcement officers accused of abuses against peaceful demonstrators protesting the reelection of the country’s authoritarian leader, an opposition leader said Tuesday.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the main opposition challenger in Belarus’ August presidential vote, said in a video call from Vilnius, Lithuania, that the “book of crimes” will include accounts of police abuse that will be verified by independent lawyers.

“Impunity will not last forever,” said Tsikhanouskaya, who was pressured by Belarusian authorities to leave for neighboring Lithuania after the vote. “No one will be able to deprive hundreds of thousands of people who are striving for justice from speaking out.”

Belarus has been swept by mass protests that were triggered by President Alexander Lukashenko’s reelection to a sixth term in office by a landslide in the Aug. 9 election that the opposition said was riddled with fraud.

Police have cracked down hard on the largely peaceful demonstrations, using stun grenades, tear gas and truncheons to disperse protesters. Thousands of people have been detained — and many of them badly beaten — since the protests began, human rights advocates say.

The rallies, the biggest of which drew up to 200,000, have continued despite the increasingly tough police response.

The United States and the European Union have introduced sanctions against Belarusian officials accused of involvement in vote-rigging and the post-election crackdown.

Tsikhanouskaya said that the opposition will use the register of law enforcement officers accused of abuses to push for Western sanctions against them.

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Read all AP stories about the protests in Belarus at https://apnews.com/Belarus

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