A Moscow court has sentenced seven defendants in the Bolotnaya Case to jail terms of between two and a half to four years. On Friday 21 February, the defendants were found guilty, but sentencing was delayed until Monday 24 February. Critics say the court delayed sentencing until after the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in Sochi, yesterday.
Ukrainian President Yanukovych has agreed to hold a presidential election before the end of the year, as part of a deal to end the crisis. He also agreed to a national unity government, and to reinstall the constitution of 2004, thereby reducing the power of the president.
After a ten month political stalemate, Lebanon’s designated Prime Minister, Tammam Salam, announced the formation of a government of national unity. The announcement was made on Saturday 15 February and on 18 February the newly formed government met for the first time. The 24-member government unites the Shia Hezbollah party, the Sunni Future Movement and the Christian Kataeb party.
On 18 February clashes broke out near Ukraine’s parliament. At the time of writing of this article, already seven people were killed, according to some sources and more than hundred people are injured. Injuries are also reported among police officers. On 19 February twenty-five deaths are reported
On Thursday 13 February, at least 12 protesters were arrested in Ankara when marching to parliament. Nearly 2,000 people were demonstrating against a bill tightening control of the internet. The protests turned violent as police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd. This was not the first round of protests: immediately after parliament approved the controversial bill on 16 January, people went to the street in Istanbul and Ankara. In Istanbul, the riot police then also took action after some protesters used firebombs. With plastic bullets, tear gas and water cannons, they tried to control the protesters.
On 13 February Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia had presented two U.N. Security Council draft resolutions on humanitarian aid access and the fight against "terrorism" in Syria. Russia counter-offered an earlier draft resolution backed by the West and the Syrian opposition, which Russia called biased against the government of Assad. Russia’s calls for a resolution condemning acts of "terrorism" are in tune with rhetoric of the Assad-regime.
On 11 February, protesters demanded the resignation of Bosniak-Croat Federation entity (FBiH) Prime Minister Nermin Niksic Niksic said he would only resign if parliament holds early elections. Niksic’s party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), leans towards early elections. Demonstrators all across the country demand the resignation of regional and local leaders, whom they hold responsible for economic hardship (unemployment rate above 40%) and corruption. The protest begun last week after the closure of factories in Tuzla and are the worst since the end of the Bosnian war in 1995.
Ramush Haradinaj, head of the opposition Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), urged President Jahjaga to hold extraordinary elections as soon as possible. At this moment the coalition holds only 55 seats out of 120 in parliament.
Leftist Egyptian politician Hamdeem Sabahi has announced that he will run for president of Egypt, making him the first candidate to officially enter the presidential race. Sabahi has regularly expressed his intention to run for president but waited till last Saturday, 8 February, to announce his decision. Sabahi will probably have to contest the popular Army Chief Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who has not yet announced his candidacy.