The state treason conviction and prison sentence the regime imposed today on Belsat journalist Katsiaryna Andreeva are disgraceful and despicable. Reporting the news and exposing the truth are not treasonous. Telling the public about protesters who are demonstrating for a better future for their country is not treasonous.
Today’s judicial action, which was conducted secretly, behind closed doors, is tragic for Katsiaryna, her fellow Belarusian journalists, and her family and friends. It also is a sad commentary on the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Police officials, jailers, prosecutors, and judges are taking ever more extreme actions to try to crush the Belarusian people’s democratic aspirations.
Katsiaryna Andreeva, along with all of her jailed Belsat colleagues and other imprisoned journalists, should be freed immediately, as should all of the more than 1,200 political prisoners unjustly detained by the Lukashenka regime. The journalists, civil society activists, and thousands of other Belarusians who have been forced to flee their country should be able to return home without fear of persecution or prosecution.
This is a shameful day for all elements of the Lukashenka regime trying to silence and punish those calling for a more open and democratic government. The international community remains vigilant to these actions and united in our commitment to hold the Lukashenka regime accountable. Our partnership with the Belarusian people in working towards a sovereign, independent, and democratic Belarus remains unwavering.