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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The most elevated court in Belarus indicted a hopeful opponent to the country’s tyrant president on debasement allegations that he dismissed as politically roused and condemned him Tuesday to 14 years in jail.

Viktor Babariko, the top of a business bank claimed by Russian petroleum gas organization Gazprom, had would have liked to challenge President Alexander Lukashenko last year, yet he was captured before the country’s August 2020 official political decision and restricted from enlisting as an up-and-comer.

At that point, he was generally seen as Lukashenko’s fundamental adversary, and his capture attracted a large number of dissenters to the roads.

On Tuesday, Belarus’ Supreme Court indicted Babariko on charges of accepting kickbacks and tax evasion and gave him a 14-year jail sentence and a fine of about $57,000.

Babariko, who filled in as the CEO of Belgazprombank, has stayed imprisoned since his capture. He excused the debasement accusations against him as politically determined.

“I can’t concede to the wrongdoings I didn’t carry out,” Babariko told the court before it gave the decision. “I can advise you from that confine that I don’t feel embarrassed for my life before individuals I knew.”

The U.S. Consulate upbraided the decision as a “brutal joke,” saying on Twitter it showed that Lukashenko’s “system will remain determined to keep power.”

Lukashenko’s re-appointment to a 6th term was broadly seen as manipulated and set off a very long time of fights, the biggest of which attracted up to 200,000 individuals. Specialists reacted to the showings with an enormous crackdown that saw in excess of 35,000 individuals captured, thousands beaten by police and resistance pioneers imprisoned or drove away from the country.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who wound up as the fundamental resistance competitor, condemned what she depicted as a “frantic sentence to the individual who chose to enter legislative issues and got one of the pioneers who woke the country up from a long rest.”

“The system is doing all that to eliminate any contemplations even remotely looking like confidence and expectation,” said Tsikhanouskaya, who had to leave Belarus under true tension after the political race. “However, the expectation in our souls is something that is the most valuable for Viktor and a large number of other honest individuals in penitentiaries.”

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