WASHINGTON (CN) – President Barack Obama has continued the executive order freezing any economic activity of officials involved in alleged electoral fraud and suppression of political dissidents in the 2006 presidential elections in Belarus.
The order has been extended for a year.
Executive Order 13405 was issued by former President George W. Bush in 2006 in protest of the actions of President Alexander Lukashenko and ten other members of his government who have been accused of intimidating, kidnapping and otherwise suppressing political parties opposed to Lukashenko’s third term in office, which he claimed to win by more than 80 percent of the vote. The order has been extended by one year each year since it was issued.
Obama said that, since 2006, Belarus has moved backward in terms of democratic reform, noting that in 2010 Lukashenko was elected to a fourth term in office following a campaign during which opposition candidates were beaten and jailed and independent media outlets were closed.
In January, the U.S. Department of State reinstituted and expanded a visa ban on most senior Belarus government officials -including Lukashenko- effectively barring their entry into the United States except when on diplomatic missions to the United Nations.
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