Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko or Alyaksandr Ryhoravich Lukashenka is a Belarusian "politician" and army officer who has served as the first and only president of Belarus since the establishment of the office on July 20, 1994.

Lukashenko heads an authoritarian regime, and has often been referred to by media outlets as "Europe's last dictator." Elections are not considered to be free and fair by international monitors, opponents of the regime are repressed, and the media is not free, leading to sanctions on Lukashenko and other Belarusian officials being imposed.

The United States, Canada, Britain and the European Union on Monday called in a joint statement on the Belarusian government "to end its repressive practices against its own people."

Western powers hit Belarus with a wave of new sanctions on Monday in a coordinated response to Minsk's forced landing of a Ryanair plane last month to arrest a journalist on board, an act that is set to prompt further economic sanctions.

Jailed Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich appeared at a news conference in Minsk on Monday saying he felt fine and had not been beaten, in what the opposition said was another public appearance made under duress.

A Belarusian opposition leader called Wednesday for the creation of an international tribunal to investigate and prosecute crimes reportedly committed by her country’s government and its longtime authoritarian leader, President Alexander Lukashenko.

The EU has banned Belarusian planes from its skies or accessing its airports after the forced grounding of a Ryanair flight.

Authorities in Belarus scrambled a fighter jet and flagged what turned out to be a false bomb alert to force a Ryanair plane to land on Sunday and then detained an opposition-minded journalist, drawing criticism from across Europe.

A new draft constitution for Belarus, which President Alexander Lukashenko has touted as a solution to a political crisis but the opposition rejects as a sham, will be drawn up this year, Lukashenko said in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday.

A new report by Amnesty International reveals how the Belarusian authorities have weaponized the justice system to punish victims of torture rather than perpetrators, as part of a widespread and brutal crackdown on dissent in the wake of post-election protests.

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