White Home imposes sanctions on Belarus after brazen arrest of opposition Determine: NPR

A photo taken on Sunday shows a Ryanair passenger plane that was intercepted by Belarusian authorities and diverted to Minsk. Minsk diverted the flight to arrest opposition activist Roman Protasevich. Petras Malukas / AFP via Getty Images Hide caption

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Petras Malukas / AFP via Getty Images

A photo taken on Sunday shows a Ryanair passenger plane that was intercepted by Belarusian authorities and diverted to Minsk. Minsk diverted the flight to arrest opposition activist Roman Protasevich.

Petras Malukas / AFP via Getty Images

The White House announced a series of sanctions against Belarus on Friday night for the forced landing of a Ryanair commercial flight and the subsequent removal and arrest of opposition journalist Roman Protasevich.

In a statement, White House press secretary Jen Psaki described the country’s action as a “direct violation of international norms”.

The diversion of the Sunday flight, carried out under the false pretext of a bomb on board the plane, comes from the fact that the government of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is facing growing outcry from the West because of the nation’s recent opposition to free speech and public disagreement proceeded.

“These events took place amid an escalating wave of repression by the Lukashenka regime against the Belarusian people’s aspirations for democracy and human rights,” Psaki said in a statement.

In response to Protasevich’s arrest, Psaki said the United States had issued a travel advisory urging US citizens not to travel to Belarus, re-sanctioning nine state-owned companies in Belarus and, among other things, increasing sanctions against the government of the Eastern European nation to impose actions.

3 reasons why the arrest of a Belarusian journalist is worrying

“We are taking these measures together with our partners and allies to hold the regime accountable for its actions and to demonstrate our commitment to the aspirations of the people of Belarus,” said Psaki. “We call on Lukashenka to allow a credible international investigation into the events of May 23rd, to release all political prisoners immediately and to engage in a full and genuine political dialogue with leaders of the democratic opposition and civil society groups leading to the conduct of free and fair people Presidential election under [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] Patronage and supervision. “

Protasevich, 26, became a political activist as a teenager. During the widespread anti-government protests last year, Protasevich became a key figure among opposition activists and used the encrypted messaging app Telegram to organize demonstrations.

Lukashenko, a six-year-old authoritarian whose recent election victory was marred by allegations of election fraud, has made a name for himself as a strong international man and is often referred to as Europe’s last dictator. Lukashenko declared himself the winner of the Belarusian presidential election last year and won a landslide with a staggering 80% of the vote.

His widely controversial re-election sparked international outrage and sparked massive protests on the streets of Minsk. Thousands of demonstrators were arrested for their involvement in the riots and others were banned from the state.

While a number of industrial nations have sharply criticized Lukashenko’s sharp rejection of fundamental democratic principles such as free speech, Lukashenko has found allies in an authoritarian leader, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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