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US warns Belarus: ‘We will not sit idly by’

USA warned the Belarusian government of Aleksandr Lukashenko on Tuesday that it will not sit idly by in the face of the repression of the democratic aspirations of this people and announced visa restrictions on 25 officials.

“We will not stand idly by as this regime continues to harass and suppress peaceful protesters, the democratic opposition, journalists, trade unionists, activists, human rights defenders and ordinary Belarusians”US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

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Therefore, he announced, visa restrictions will be imposed on 25 people for their participation in undermining democracy, including members of the National Assembly of belarus for his role in passing legislation to authorize the death penalty for people convicted of alleged “attempted terrorism,” a charge “used to repress and intimidate the democratic opposition and civil society.”

Some of these people, the State Department said, have also supported legislation that revokes the citizenship of those who are outside the country accused of “extremism” and confiscate property for taking “hostile actions towards Belarus”.

The Lukashenko regime, assures blinken“continues to suppress the Belarusian people and their democratic aspirations” as evidenced by the “politically motivated” trial in absentia of democratic opposition leader Svetlana Tijanóvskaya and other activists on “unfounded charges”.

“These politically motivated trials are the latest examples of the Lukashenko regime’s efforts to intimidate and suppress those who seek justice, respect for human rights and a democratic Belarus,” he pointed.

Tijanóvskaya leads the pro-democracy movement from exile in Vilnius, defends human rights and continues to push for a democratic transition in her country.

She is on trial alongside other pro-democracy leaders, including Volha Kavalkova, head of the Coordination Council, the body tasked with facilitating Belarus’ democratic transition.

Separately, last month the regime convicted and sentenced the founder of the Belarus Sports Solidarity Foundation, Alex Apeikin, and Belarusian Olympian Alyaksandra Herasimenia to 12 years in prison.

It also continues to hold as a political prisoner Nobel Peace Prize winner Ales Bialiatski, who “has dedicated his life to defending human rights and promoting democratic change.”

With Tuesday’s announcement, the State Department has moved to impose visa restrictions on 322 people “for undermining democracy in belarus since the rigged 2020 presidential election.”

Source: Elcomercio

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