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  • Belarusian presidential election 2020

image copyrightAFPimage captionBabaryko was once head of a Belarus subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom

A former challenger for the Belarusian presidency, Viktor Babaryko, has been sentenced to 14 years in jail.

The former banker was found guilty of taking bribes and money-laundering – charges he says were fabricated to prevent him challenging Alexander Lukashenko in last year's election.

He is among the top opponents of Mr Lukashenko who have been either jailed or forced into exile.

They and Western governments say Mr Lukashenko rigged the Belarus vote.

After Babaryko was barred from running and detained last June, a trio of women joined forces to oppose Mr Lukashenko in the election. They included Maria Kolesnikova, an ally of Babaryko, who is also now in jail.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, whose opposition politician husband Sergei Tikhanovsky was detained in March 2020, claimed victory in the August election after standing in his place. She was forced into exile with her children the next day.

She has condemned her husband's trial, currently taking place behind closed doors, as a "sham"..

media captionSvetlana Tikhanovskaya: My husband's spirit is not broken