Co-Chairman Cohen Presides at Helsinki Commission Hearing on Seeking Justice and Freedom in Belarus

September 21, 2021
Press Release
Says President Alexander Lukashenko is “the epitome of an autocrat”

WASHINGTON -- Congressman Cohen Steve Cohen (TN-09), Co-Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, better known as the Helsinki Commission, today presided at a hearing on “Seeking Justice and Freedom in Belarus.” Co-Chairman Ben Cardin, the Senator from Maryland, also presided during parts of the hearing.

In his opening statement, Co-Chairman Cohen said the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, known by some as the last dictator in Europe, was fraudulent, and called him “the epitome of an autocrat.” Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

See Co-Chairman Cohen’s opening statement here and his questioning of witnesses here.

Later this week, Co-Chairman Cohen and Helsinki Commission Ranking Member Joe Wilson plan to introduce a resolution recognizing the ongoing crackdown on important freedoms in Belarus and calling for an end to President Lukashenka’s continued repression of peaceful protesters, journalists, human rights defenders, political activists, and others.

Witnesses at today’s hearing were:

  • Serge Kharytonau, Media Expert, International Strategic Action Network for Security (iSANS);
  • Tatsiana Khomich, Coordination Council Representative for political prisoners, Viktar Babaryka Team Coordinator, and sister of political prisoner Maria Kalesnikava;
  • David J. Kramer, Senior Fellow, Florida International University;
  • Siarhej Zikratski, Representative on Legal Affairs, Office of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

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