A court in Minsk, Belarus has sentenced former Olympic swimmer Aliaksandra Herasimenia to 12 years in prison in absentia for calling for sanctions and actions aimed at harming the national security of Belarus.
“They were found guilty of public calls to commit actions aimed at causing harm to the national security of Belarus,” the state news Belarusian Telegraph Agency (BelTA) reported on Monday.
“Such actions entailed grave consequences.”
Aliaksandra Herasimenia and political activist Alexander Opeykin were among those who protested what they called the fraudulent re-election of Alexander Lukashenko in August 2020.
The three-time Olympic medallist, who also won the gold medal at world championships in 2012, was among the elite athletes who fled Belarus in the wake of a crackdown soon after to avoid becoming one of the 1300 political prisoners of the country.
She has lived in Lithuania in exile since leaving Belarus.
The court also ordered the seizure of her apartment, her car and $48,700 in her bank accounts.
Belarusian opposition leader-in-exile Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya condemned the court’s ruling.
Belarus which has been shunned by the United Nations and many countries for an ongoing crackdown on political opponents, civil society and journalists, has been isolated in the sporting world as well alongside Russia.
The country is facilitating Russia in its war against Ukraine which has led to its athletes being banned by several sporting organisations.