Alexander Lukashenko Mocks Germany for Torture Allegations, Says They Are 'Heirs of Fascism'

In a sharp rebuke of a complaint filed against him in Germany, the embattled president of Belarus said that "heirs of fascism" were in no position to judge him for violence against protestors that disputed his re-election win, the Associated Press reported.

A group of four German lawyers said in a news conference that they filed a complaint against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and state security forces with the Germany Federal Public Prosecutor's Office in Karlsruhe on behalf of 10 Belarusian dissidents who said they were tortured.

Two days before Victory Day, which marks the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, Lukashenko dredged up Germany's own human rights violations under the Third Reich, saying, "Who are you to judge me? They are the heirs of the generation that unleashed that war."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attends the Orthodox Easter service in the town of Turov, about 167 miles south of Minsk, Belarus, on May 2, 2021. Lukashenko said that "heirs of fascism" were in no position to judge him for violence against protestors that disputed his re-election win. Maxim Guchek/BelTA Pool Photo via AP

The four lawyers said universal jurisdiction laws allow Germany to prosecute crimes against humanity committed anywhere in the world.

Lukashenko won his sixth term in office in an election in August that opposition figures and some poll workers said was rigged, then unleashed a harsh crackdown on subsequent mass protests that demanded he step down. More than 34,000 people were arrested in Belarus and many of them were brutally beaten. Those released from jails showed off giant bruises and recounted episodes of torture.

The violent suppression of the anti-government rallies elicited international outrage, with the United States and the European Union imposing sanctions on Belarus.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Lukashenko's main contender in the August election who was forced to leave Belarus under pressure from the authorities when the protests broke out, welcomed the complaint in a statement on Wednesday.

"One wouldn't be able to hide the crimes of the regime in the past—they will face justice in the present and the future," said Tsikhanouskaya, who is currently living in exile in Lithuania.

She added that similar complaints against Belarusian authorities are to be filed in Poland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic.

A wanted poster with an image of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is displayed as demonstrators participate in an anti-Lukashenko rally on August 18, 2020, in Minsk, Belarus. Misha Friedman/Getty Images