US condemns Belarussian crackdown on journalists
( dpa )- The United States strongly condemned the crackdown on journalists in Belarus Thursday, calling the regime of President Aleksander Lukashenko a "brutal" dictatorship.
"The regime of Aleksander Lukashenko has again shown itself as a brutal, authoritarian dictatorship that blatantly ignores human rights and fundamental freedoms," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, adding the arrests of the journalists was without "legitimate cause."
"We also call on Belarus to stop its harassment of the remaining independent media still striving to report on the realities in Belarus and to respect freedom of assembly, speech, and independent media in Belarus," he added in a statement.
The Belarusian secret police known by the Soviet era name KGB raided the homes and offices of dozens of journalists in several cities in a massive crackdown on the media.
"We call on the Belarus authorities to release immediately all of those who have been arrested and jailed, to assure that those who are injured receive proper medical care, and to hold those responsible to account," McCormack said.
US-Belarussian relations worsened this month when Minsk asked the US ambassador, Karen Stewart, to leave and demanded the United States reduce its staff at the embassy. Washington complied with the requests.