U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken once again called on Minsk to stop the persecution of representatives of civil society, independent media, political opposition, athletes, students, lawyers and other Belarusians.

The United States on Tuesday condemned the sentence of the Belarusian blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky – the husband of the ex-presidential candidate of Belarus Svetlana Tikhanovskaya – and called for the immediate release of over 900, according to Washington, political prisoners in the country. This is stated in a distributed written statement by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

He stressed that “the United States condemns today’s politically motivated sentences of Belarusian opposition figures in the framework of judicial proceedings that do not comply with the principle of the rule of law.” The chief of American diplomacy called the sentences of the Belarusian court against the oppositionists “harsh repressions.” “Belarus has obligations under international law, as well as obligations as an OSCE member state to respect the right to a fair trial by an independent and impartial court and human rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Unfortunately, these sentences are another evidence of the disregard of the regime [of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko] for these international obligations, as well as human rights and fundamental freedoms of Belarusians,” Blinken said.

He once again called on Minsk to “stop the persecution of representatives of civil society, independent media, political opposition, athletes, students, lawyers and other Belarusians, immediately release more than 900 political prisoners, <…> conduct a sincere dialogue with democratic forces and civil society, hold free and fair elections under international supervision, stop the brutal exploitation of vulnerable migrants and comply with their obligations under international law.”

The Court sentenced Tikhanovsky to 18 years in prison with serving his sentence in a high-security colony for preparing mass riots.