The United States imposed visa restrictions on 25 individuals close to Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday. Photo by Kazakhstan's President Press Office/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The United States announced visa restrictions on 25 members of parliament in Belarus on Tuesday, for their attempts to repress pro-democracy activists.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken condemned the trial in absentia of Svyaltana Tsikhanouskaya, the country's democratic opposition leader. Blinked said the trial was being conducted on baseless charges.
"Ms. Tsikhanouskaya leads the pro-democracy movement from exile in Vilnius, defends human rights, and continues to press for a democratic transition in Belarus," Blinken said in a statement. "She is on trial along with other pro-democracy leaders, including Volha Kavalkova, head of the Coordination Council, the body tasked with facilitating Belarus' democratic transition."
Last month Belarus sentenced Belarussian Sports Solidarity Foundation founder Alex Apeikin and Olympian Alyaksandra Herasimenia to 12 years in prison.
Blinken also noted that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko continues to hold Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ales Bialiatski as a political prisoner.
"We will not stand by as this regime continues to harass and repress peaceful protesters, the democratic opposition, journalists, unionists, activists, human rights defenders, and everyday Belarusians," Blinken said.
The United States has now imposed visa restrictions on 322 individuals in Belarus since the country's 2020 presidential election.