Minsk [Belarus], August 9 (ANI): The US has announced restrictions over visa issuance to over 100 persons, including members of the regime of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, on the second anniversary of the disputed election in the former Soviet state.
On August 9, 2020, the people of Belarus turned out in record numbers to give voice to their democratic aspirations and desire for change. Belarus' main opposition candidate had rejected preliminary election results giving the country's longtime President Alexander Lukashenko a landslide victory.
"The U.S. announces action to restrict visa issuance to over 100 persons, including members of the Lukashenko regime. We stand with the Belarusian people as they press for a democratic future," a State Department press release read.
"Today we are announcing steps to impose visa restrictions on 100 regime officials and their affiliates for their involvement in undermining or injuring democratic institutions or impeding the transition to democracy in Belarus, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 8015," it added.
The US said that on the second anniversary of the presidential election in Belarus, "we commend the Belarusian people who showed up in record numbers to cast their ballots, exercise their rights, and determine their own future."
"When it was clear the election had been stolen by the Lukashenko regime, the Belarusian people bravely took to the streets, with reports of hundreds of thousands of people amassing to peacefully demand free and fair elections and a democratic transition. The Belarusian people have demonstrated remarkable resilience in sustaining the pro-democracy movement for two years at great personal sacrifice. These calls for democracy are voiced by Belarusians exiled abroad, over 1,200 political prisoners unjustly detained inside the country, and countless ordinary Belarusian citizens."
US State Secretary Antony Blinken noted that "their peaceful calls for democracy have been met with unprecedented brute force and a consolidated crackdown by the Lukashenko regime."
Among those included are high-ranking positions in the Administration of the President, Ministry of Interior, State Security Committee (KGB), the Central Election Commission, the Prosecutor General's Office, Central Office of the Investigative Committee, Ministry of Transport and Communication, Main Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime and Corruption (GUBOPiK), the National State TV and Radio Company "Belteleradio," the Second National Television Station, and the Air Force and Air Defense Forces.
They also include members of Parliament, district judges, security officials, members of executive committees, and state university administrators. Individuals subject to the proclamation have been implicated in torture; violent arrests of peaceful protesters; raids of homes and offices of journalists, members of the opposition, and activists; coerced confessions; electoral fraud; politically motivated sentences of political prisoners; expulsion of students for participation in peaceful protests; passage of legislation impacting the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms; and acts of transnational repression.
Since the disputed 2020 election, the US State Department has taken steps to impose visa restrictions on a total of 297 individuals under PP8015 for undermining democracy in Belarus. (ANI)