MOSCOW, July 19. /TASS/. The Minsk court has announced verdicts in the case of 11 members of radical Telegram chats, sentencing them to between five and nine years behind bars in a high-security prison, the Vesna unregistered human rights center reported on Monday.
"They were found guilty under Article 218 (deliberate destruction or damage to property), Article 293 (participation in mass unrest), Article 295 (illegal actions involving firearms and ammunition) of the Criminal Code and sentenced to between five and nine years in a high-security prison," the statement reads.
Two members of the Belarusian opposition’s Coordination Council, Rostislav Stefanovich and Sergey Plonis, were prosecuted among others and received eight years behind bars each.
Presidential elections were held in Belarus on August 9. Incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus. Tikhanovskaya’s supporters set up a Coordination Council that set a task of power transition by means of new elections. The Council’s activities were recognized as illegal in Belarus.