UK And U.S Impose More Sanctions Against Officials, Judges And Law Enforcers

The U.S. has imposed sanctions on 43 Belarusian citizens for “undermining democracy”. The statement by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reads. Besides, the UK has updated the sanctions list against Belarusian officials. The list was published on the website of the British government, it includes 27 people – officials, judges and security leadership.

The British list includes Head of the Belarusian State Television and Radio Company Ivan Eismont, Minister of Information Igor Lutsky, Governor of Grodno Region Vladimir Karanik, Chairperson of the Council of the Republic Natalya Kochanova, Prosecutor General of Belarus Andrei Shved, Governor of Minsk Region Alexander Turchin, Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Sivak, Judge Elena Zhivitsa and others. All 27 names can be found here.

Each name is accompanied by information about which suspicions caused the sanctions. For example, the leadership of the law enforcement “bears the responsibility for the inhumane and degrading treatment of detainees, amounting to serious human rights violations and the repression of civil society, including torture, carried out in the detention facilities following the elections of 9 August.”

The UK authorities believe that Igor Lutsky is responsible for the repression of civil society and in particular the Ministry of Information decision to cut off access to independent websites and limit internet access in Belarus in the wake of the 2020 presidential election, as a tool of repression of civil society, peaceful demonstrators and journalists.

The U.S. visa restrictions list includes 43 Belarusian individuals responsible “for undermining Belarusian democracy, making them generally ineligible for entry into the United States.” These individuals include high-ranking justice sector officials; law enforcement leaders and rank-and-file personnel who detained and abused peaceful demonstrators; judges and prosecutors involved in sentencing peaceful protesters and journalists to prison terms; and academic administrators who threatened students for participation in peaceful protests.

The statement notes that the United States is concerned about the continued brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrators, activists and journalists, searches carried out on February 16 at the human rights organization Viasna, the Belarusian Association of Journalists and independent trade unions, as well as the February 18 sentencing of journalists Ekaterina Andreeva and Darya Chultsova.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reminded that the U.S. had already twice introduced visa restrictions against citizens of Belarus and Russia for “undermining Belarusian democracy” – on 66 additional individuals in total.

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