Trump sanctions Belarus officials, condemns roles in August election

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The Trump administration has sanctioned eight Belarus officials.

While disclosing this in a statement on Friday October 2020, US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, cited the roles the officials played in the August presidential election.

Mnuchin noted that many Western governments condemned the abominable roles of the officials,

“The Belarusian people’s democratic aspirations to choose their own leaders and peacefully exercise their rights have been met with violence and oppression from Belarusian officials,” said Mnuchin.

The Belarus opposition maintains that the August election was rigged by President Alexander Lukashenko who has been in power for 26 years.

Lukashenko, who was declared the winner by a landslide, has denied electoral fraud.

More than 12,000 people have been arrested in mass protests since the election and all major opposition figures are either in jail or in exile.

Those blacklisted by the US Treasury on Friday include Belarus’s Minister of Interior Yuri Karayev and his deputy Alexander Barsukov.

Both men are accused by the Trump administration of overseeing a law enforcement system “that has abused the human rights of Belarusians on streets and in prison cells across the country.

The United States had originally been expected to impose sanctions in concert with the UK and Canada, which slapped travel bans and asset freezes on Tuesday on Lukashenko, his son Viktor and other senior officials on September 29.

Washington, which has had sanctions on Lukashenko and his son Viktor since 2006, held off while waiting to see if the EU would settle an internal dispute, paving the way to coordinated US and EU sanctions, four sources told news agency.

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