ON-Lion Letter
In late June, Freedom House and the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington, D.C., released an open letter to President Barack Obama aimed at galvanizing U.S. and European efforts for securing the release of all political prisoners in Belarus and pressuring "Europe's last dictatorship."

Signed by 19 distinguished scholars, analysts, and former policymakers, the letter supports the European Union's newly announced sanctions on companies linked to the Belarusian government.  It urges the U.S. administration to expedite its work in providing material and technical assistance to Belarus' opposition, civil society, and journalists, and to expand current U.S. economic sanctions against the regime.

"Your Administration has shown leadership in condemning the abuses of the [Alexander] Lukashenka regime and supporting civil society and the victims of Lukashenka's brutality," the letter says.  "But we urge you to consider additional measures focused on bringing about the immediate release of all political prisoners in Belarus and to reiterate America's deep concern regarding reports of torture and other forms of cruel and degrading treatment of detainees."

The open letter coincides with the launch this month of the Belarus Working Group, a joint project of Freedom House and CEPA, both of which are supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.  Co-chaired by Freedom House executive director David J. Kramer and CEPA president A. Wess Mitchell, the working group's findings will provide an actionable policy roadmap for catalyzing democratic change in the country.
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