Sean McCormack, Spokesman
September 11, 2007
Belarusian authorities have stepped up intimidation of their citizens. Recently, opposition politician Andrey Klimov was convicted in a closed trial for publishing material on the Internet criticizing the Lukashenka regime. Police arrested people who were peacefully protesting the politically motivated trials of Young Front members, arrested the performers and audience of a play, and detained citizens attempting to take part in a commemoration of a medieval battle. Political parties planning to take part in elections next year have been threatened with deregistration.
The Lukashenka regime has expressed its desire for improved relations with the United States and other democratic nations. However, as long as the Belarusian authorities are not ready to abide by democratic norms, the United States will continue to maintain and strengthen sanctions on those responsible. The United States calls on the Belarusian authorities to release all prisoners held on politically motivated charges, and to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Belarus, including their rights to assemble peacefully and express themselves freely. Belarusians are paying a severe price for exercising the basic rights that are taken for granted in democratic societies.
Released on September 11, 2007