On December 21, the US Senate approved the Belarus Democracy, Human Rights, and Sovereignty Act of 2020.
The bill gives additional authority to the President of the United States to impose new sanctions on the back of the stealing of the 2020 presidential election in Belarus and the brutal crackdown on post-election protests.
The Democracy Act is expected to restore personal economic and visa sanctions against an expanded group of Belarusian officials and a number of Russian citizens. The document will come into force only after it is signed by the President.
In accordance with the bill, sanctions may be slapped on:
The Act also:
The bill was presented by US Congressman Chris Smith, who was one of the authors of Belarus Democracy Acts in 2004, 2006, 2011.
For over four months, the protests have been underway in the country; the major demands of Belarusians are Lukashenka’s resignation; holding a free and fair election; releasing political prisoners; putting an end to police violence as well as bringing to justice those involved in battering and torturing peaceful demonstrators.
Since August 9, more than 30,000 people have been detained across the country. Many of them were beaten, some were raped. There are at least seven death cases that are linked to the post-election protests. Hundreds of persons, including Belsat TV journalists Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova, are parties to criminal proceedings, the number of political prisoners exceeded 150. Several thousand detainees filed complaints against police officers’ illegal actions to the Investigative Committee. However, not a single criminal case has been opened over the citizens’ appeals.