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U.S. Department of State
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Press Statement


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Statement by Richard Boucher, Spokesman
October 13, 2000

Belarus: U.S. Condemns Harassment of Magic Independent Publishing House

The United States condemns the seizure by the Lukashenko regime of the bank accounts of the Magic Publishing House on October 11 in Minsk. Magic is the leading independent publishing house in Minsk. This move by the Lukashenko regime appears intended to silence the beleaguered free press in Belarus.

We have information that an order has been issued to seize Magic's equipment on October 16, the day after parliamentary elections. We urge the Belarusian authorities to rescind this order, release Magic's bank accounts, and to cease persecution of the independent press.

The Lukashenko regime's actions against the Magic Publishing House constitutes an additional and important piece of evidence that under the current conditions in Belarus it is almost impossible to hold truly free and fair elections. The U.S. will not recognize the results of elections in Belarus which are not democratic and we urge other governments to reinforce this same message with the Belarusian government.

[end of document]

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