Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

US Senator: Not to stand with dictator

Mark Kirk, the US senator for Illinois, called on the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) to suspend the Ice Hockey World Championship which is to take place in Minsk in 2014, Libereco — Partnership for Human Rights says.

Mark Kirk, the US senator for Illinois, called on the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) to suspend the Ice Hockey World Championship which is to take place in Minsk in 2014, Libereco — Partnership for Human Rights says.

“The International Ice Hockey Federation should suspend plans to hold the 2014 Ice Hockey World Championship in Belarus. President Lukashenka’s brutal crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly should not be rewarded by the IIHF. The international community should stand with the people of Belarus, not the dictator who denies them their basic human rights,” the statement reads.

Many politicians and activists both in Belarus and in foreign counties have urged to move the championship from Belarus as it is not a democracy and Belarusian authorities keep political prisoners and constantly oppress political opposition and civil society.

The IIHF has even considered the issue. However, IIHF President Rene Fasel in his statement said the Championship is not going to be removed from Belarus as sport and policy are two different spheres.

Human rights organization Libereco — Partnership for Human Rights together with 7 NGOs from Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Czech Republic and Slovakia hold the campaign to suspend the 2014 Ice Hockey World Championship which is to take place in Minsk.