The three-time Olympic medalist in swimming has not dared to return to his home country.

    Former top swimmer Aliaksandra Herasimenia cannot return to her home country. EPA/AOP

    Former Olympic swimmer Aliaksandra Herasimenia has received a 12-year prison sentence from the Belarusian court, says the NGO Viasna. His assets were also confiscated and his bank account was frozen.

    Herasimeni was not present at the trial. He has remained in exile for two years in, for example, Ukraine and later in Lithuania.

    The swimmer, who won Olympic medals in Rio and London, is accused of harming national security, among other things. Two years ago, Herasimenia was involved in founding a solidarity foundation, the purpose of which is to support athletes persecuted for their political opinions in Belarus. The swimmer belongs to the ruler of the country Alexander Lukashenko to opponents.

    Around the time the organization was founded, there were enough unrest in Belarus, which escalated into large demonstrations against the re-election of President Lukashenko.

    Among other things, the foundation provided financial and legal support to persecuted Belarusian athletes. It helped, among other things, a sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaja, which was tried to be forced back to Belarus during the Tokyo Olympics. Tsimanouskaja fled and sought asylum in Central Europe.

    According to Viasna, there are a total of 1,439 political prisoners in the prisons of Belarus.