US restricts visas for Belarusians over ‘continued repression’ | Human Rights News

Proper teams say Belarus has focused tons of of activists, journalists and opposition figures because the 2020 election.

The US has imposed a raft of visa restrictions on Belarusians over the federal government’s “continued repression” of opposition figures, together with democracy icon Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ales Bialiatski.

The restrictions introduced on Tuesday goal 25 people, bringing the overall variety of Belarussians dealing with US visa bars for “undermining democracy” to 322 since President Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected in 2020 in landslide polls dismissed by the opposition and overseas observers – together with the US authorities and Group for Safety and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – as a sham.

Rights activists have estimated that about 1,500 folks presently stay in jail in Belarus on costs thought-about politically motivated.

“We is not going to stand by as this regime continues to harass and repress peaceable protesters, the democratic opposition, journalists, unionists, activists, human rights defenders, and on a regular basis Belarusians,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in a press release.

The most recent measures come because the trial of Tsikhanouskaya, Lukashenko’s foremost challenger in 2020, begins in Minsk.

The opposition chief, who fled the nation and has been dwelling in exile in Lithuania because the election, decried the trial in a tweet on Monday. She faces a number of costs, together with treason, and a sentence of as much as 15 years in jail.

“I’m charged with 10+ crimes. Does it change something for me? Nothing,” she posted. “It’s simply the revenge of a pathetic dictator who misplaced energy & tries to take revenge on all who stood up for freedom. Belarus wants actual justice, not a puppet present.”

Tsikhanouskaya is on trial with Volha Kavalkova, head of the Coordination Council, the physique tasked with facilitating Belarus’s democratic transition.

In its launch, the US Division of State additionally referenced Belarusian Sport Solidarity Basis founder Alex Apeikin and Belarusian Olympic swimmer Aliaksandra Herasimenia, each activists who in December have been discovered responsible of committing acts that “geared toward harming the nationwide safety” and sentenced to 12 years in jail in absentia.

The State Division additionally decried the prosecution of Nobel Peace Prize laureate and “political prisoner” Ales Bialiatski, whose trial on costs linked to financing protests and smuggling cash started in early January.

The Belarusians focused by Washington included members of the Nationwide Meeting of Belarus, for “their function in passing laws to authorize the demise penalty for individuals convicted of supposed ‘tried acts of terrorism,’ a cost used to repress and intimidate the democratic opposition and civil society”, Blinken stated within the assertion.

He added that a few of these censured had additionally backed laws that stripped citizenship and allowed the seizure of property of opposition figures dwelling in exile.

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