Unless the authorities release all political prisoners, Belarus will be deprived of the right to organize the World Ice Hockey Championship 2014.
On March 9 a draft resolution of the Congress on Belarus related to crackdown on opposition and pro-democracy activists was submitted to the US Senate.
One of the paragraphs of the resolution urges the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) to deprive Belarus of the right to organise the world championship in 2014.
The resolution condemns “illegitimate” and “fraudulent” presidential election on December 19, 2010 and calls upon release of all political prisoners, urges to stop crackdown on oppositionists and to hold a new election in Belarus in keeping with international standards, Radio Svaboda informs.
The resolution urges the US President and the Secretary of State to coordinate the policy of the US towards Belarus with the policy of the European Union, to start again technical and material support to the opposition and civil society in Belarus; to expand the black list of Belarusian officials responsible for persecution of the regime’s opponents after December 19 2010 and to apply pinpoint sanctions to these persons and members of their families; to spot other businesses which richens Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s regime, to ban trade with them and freeze their assets.
The resolution urges the European Union to join the US sanctions against Belneftekhim, to stop all projects with Belarusian authorities and exclude Belarusian officials from participation in the Eastern Partnership meetings; to expand the list of Belarusian officials responsible for the crackdown on the regime opponents after December 19, 2010 and use targeted sanctions against these persons and their families.
The resolution also calls upon the International Ice Hockey Federation to deprive Belarus the right to organize the World Ice Hockey Championship in 2014 unless the Belarusian authorities release all political prisoners.
The last paragraph could be not less effective for Lukashenka then imposing economic sanctions. It is generally known that the Belarusian leader is a hockey fan, he plays hockey himself and regularly organises tournaments for prizes of the Belarusian president.