US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has described Belarus’s attempt to send its athletes home from the Tokyo Summer Olympics against its will as “transnational repression” that cannot be tolerated.
“The Lukashenko regime sought to commit another act of transnational repression by forcing Olympian Krisina Simanovska to leave solely to exercise freedom of expression. Such behavior undermines the Olympic spirit and is an insult to basic human rights and cannot be tolerated,” Blinken wrote on Twitter.
On Sunday, the management of the Belarusian Olympic team wanted to return the player to her home without her consent, because she publicly criticized her national team. However, Cimanovska turned to the police at the airport and refused to return to Belarus.
She was scheduled to start on Monday in the women’s 200 metres. A few days ago, she posted a video on the social networking site Instagram, in which she criticized the management of the Belarusian Olympic team for making a decision without her knowledge to participate in the 4×400-meter relay race. According to her, her coaches came to her on Sunday and told her to pack as she was going home to Belarus.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydać announced on Monday that Poland has granted Simanowska a humanitarian visa. According to representatives of the Ministry of Diplomacy, the athlete will travel to Poland later this week. The Czech Republic also offered the 24-year-old Belarusian visa on Sunday.
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