March 2, 2021
The United States condemns the politically motivated convictions and sentences meted out today to a journalist, Katsyaryna Barysevich, and a medical doctor, Artsiom Sarokin, for their role in exposing the truth about Raman Bandarenka’s death while he was in police custody. This criminal case was designed to punish individuals who exposed a false narrative about Bandarenka and to divert attention from the fact that security officials — and individuals acting with their approval — beat a person to death in November. Those responsible have not faced justice; the authorities instead chose to retaliate against those who exposed the facts.
The authorities’ assault against the truth, and against journalists and others who reveal those truths, continues unabated. The United States again calls for an end to the crackdown against peaceful protestors, human rights defenders, civil society, and independent media and for accountability for all those who have committed abuses. The United States supports a sovereign and independent Belarus that upholds its international commitments to protect human rights – including the ability for all Belarusians to exercise these rights without risk of death or imprisonment.