U.S. Embassy Statement
May 18, 2021
The United States condemns the Lukashenka regime’s relentless persecution of independent media outlet Tut.by, its journalists and staff. The raids on Tut.by’s offices as well as the homes of staff members under the guise of a spurious tax-fraud investigation are the latest in a series of punitive actions directed against a media outlet whose primary “crime” appears to be its objective reporting on peaceful protests resulting from the fraudulent 2020 elections and the regime’s violent and cruel actions in response.
The authorities have stripped Tut.by of legal status as a media outlet; fined, jailed, and physically attacked its journalists; repeatedly maligned and threatened it; blocked its website; and appear intent on incapacitating it through a malign misuse of the tax laws. These efforts to stamp out independent thinking reflect the worst inclinations of last century. Belarus has made international commitments to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms; the United States expects Belarus to honor those commitments.
The United States reiterates its call for an end to the crackdown against independent media, peaceful protestors, human rights defenders, and civil society, and continues to call for accountability for all who have committed abuses. The United States supports a sovereign and independent Belarus, one that upholds its international commitments to protect human rights.