U.S. Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and John Kerry issued the following statement in response to the election crackdown in Belarus. The Senators were co-sponsors of the Belarus Freedom Act of 2003.
"We condemn the actions and human rights abuses of the Belarusian government, which demand a strong, determined, and vocal response. We also condemn the palpable fraud that characterized Sunday’s election in Belarus, which clearly violated international standards. We call upon the Belarusian government to release all of the political prisoners it has unjustly detained, and clarify the whereabouts and condition of all of the individuals in its custody. We express grave concern for Vladimir Neklyaev, a leading opposition candidate who was savagely beaten on Sunday night and then taken by unidentified men from the hospital where he was being treated.
The sweeping arrest of opposition leaders, journalists, and human rights activists, and the use of violence against civilians by security forces illustrate precisely why Aleksandr Lukashenko’s dictatorship has no place in modern Europe. The Belarusian government should know that its brutal actions are going to carry a very heavy cost. Having pursued engagement with Belarus in recent months, the United States and our allies should now consider a tougher approach. The Belarusian people, in turn, should know that we are on their side in their struggle for freedom. We unambiguously express our solidarity with the brave Belarusians who are looking to the outside world for strength and support at this critical moment in their history."