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Here Are Some People Who Actually Jailed Their Political Opponents Post-Election

Donald Trump raised the threat of arrest during the second presidential debate with Hillary Clinton on Sunday night.

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During the second presidential debate Sunday night, Republican nominee Donald Trump told Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton she would be put in jail if he becomes president.

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Trump said he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton's emails should he win. Clinton responded by saying it's "awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country."

"Because you'd be in jail," Trump responded.

Trump's threat to lock up a political enemy puts him in the company of authoritarian leaders around the world. Here are some of the world leaders who have followed through and jailed an opponent after an election, fueling outrage around the globe:

1. Former Ukrainian president Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych.

Afp / AFP / Getty Images

Yanukovych had former prime minisiter Yulia Tymoshenko, a heroine of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, jailed after she was convicted in 2009 over a gas deal she struck with Russia that was seen as “criminally exceeding her powers.” She served three years of her seven-year sentence.

2. Myanmar's military junta.

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Aung San Suu Kyi's party decisively won an election back in 1990, one that the military junta ruling the country ignored. Now prime minister, her efforts to bring democracy to Myanmar made her an international symbol of peaceful resistance — especially after she was put under house arrest. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.


3. Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Khaled Desouki / AFP / Getty Images

Mubarak jailed his political opponent, Ayman Nour, after Egypt's first contested election and had him sentenced to five years' hard labor in 2005. (Mubarak was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment in 2012 following the overthrow of his government. On Jan. 13, 2013, an Egyptian court ordered a retrial, which found Mubarak and his sons guilty of corruption. Mubarak is currently being detained in a military hospital in Cairo.)

5. Zambian President Edgar Lungu.

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Zambian opposition leader Eric Chanda was arrested following the elections, as was Geoffrey Mwamba, vice president of the United Party for National Development (UPND).

6. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Morteza Nikoubazl / Reuters

Iran's presidential elections in 2009 were followed by massive protests alleging vote-fixing on behalf of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Two years later, Khamenei had two of the candidates who ran against Ahmadinejad — former chairman of the parliament Mehdi Karroubi and former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, leader of the Green Movement — placed under house arrest. They remain there today.


Some world leaders weren't able to wait until after the election to act:

7. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Afp / AFP / Getty Images

Ahead of 2008's elections, Mugabe had opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai arrested — and reportedly tortured. Tsvangirai would later manage to negotiate his way into being Mugabe's prime minister for five years.

8. Congolese President Joseph Kabila.

Junior Kannah / AFP / Getty Images

Congolese businessman Moise Katumbi was set to run in the upcoming presidential elections until he was convicted in absentia of illegally selling property and sentenced to 36 months in jail. Kabila is constitutionally-barred from running again but that doesn't appear to be stopping him.


10. Republic of the Congo's President Denis Sassou Nguesso.

Marco Longari / AFP / Getty Images

Last October, opposition leader Paulin Makaya was arrested for staging what were deemed illegal protests against a referendum to change the constitution to allow Sassou Nguesso to run for a third term. Nguesso won re-election handily in March — Mayaka was sentenced to two years in jail in July.

12. Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Yuri Kadobnov / AFP / Getty Images

The list of political opponents jailed by Putin include anticorruption activist Alexei Navalny, who was briefly jailed in 2013, and oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was arrested and charged with tax evasion only after he refused to stop supporting opposition politicians and funding critical civil society groups.

Sheera Frenkel is a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed News based in San Francisco. She has reported from Israel, Egypt, Jordan and across the Middle East. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 4A53 A35C 06BE 5339 E9B6 D54E 73A6 0F6A E252 A50F

Contact Sheera Frenkel at

Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Hayes Brown at

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