US hits Belarusian officials with travel bans for crackdown

Feb, 19th 2021 – The United States yesterday imposed travel restrictions on 43 Belarusian nationals identified as taking part in President Alexander Lukashenko’s crackdown on protesters and journalists.

The US action was announced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement that followed the sentencing of two journalists who had live-streamed an enormous protest in Minsk in November.

Blinken said, “The United States continues to support international efforts to independently investigate electoral irregularities in Belarus, the human rights abuses surrounding the election, and the crackdown that has followed.”

He added, “We stand with the brave people of Belarus and support their right to free and fair elections.”

Judges and prosecutors involved in sentencing protesters and journalists, as well as academic administrators who threatened students for participation in protests were also sanctioned.

The action is set to target law enforcement leaders and personnel the State Department had accused of detaining and abusing peaceful demonstrators including judges and prosecutors involved in sentencing the protesters and journalists to prison. This action barres them from entry into the United States.

In December, Washington expanded sanctions on Belarus, targeting four entities and 40 individuals over their roles in a disputed presidential election and the government’s subsequent crackdown on protesters, blacklisting Belarus’ central election commission.

The State Department did not name them.

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