US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken Tuesday announced visa restrictions on 25 Belarusian officials accused of repressing pro-democracy actors. The move, made under the authority of Presidential Proclamation 8015, responds to the Lukashenka regime’s alleged suppression of political dissent and democratic expression in the country.Blinken accused the Belarusian government of “undermining democracy” and putting democracy activists on trial with “baseless charges.” Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, former Belarusian presidential candidate and leader of the pro-democracy movement, is on trial along with other leaders like Volha Kavalkova, head of the Coordination Council.To date, the State Department has imposed visa restrictions on 322 Belarusian individuals for anti-democratic activity. Blinken said that targeted officials include those who authorized the death penalty to “intimidate the democratic opposition.”Belarus has been facing political protests and unrest since its allegedly fraudulent 2020 election. The UN has been repeatedly reporting on human rights abuses in Belarus. Recently, in December 2022, the Belarusian parliament passed amendments to a citizenship law that could be used to target political opposition and critics in exile.
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