Blinken says Belarus treatment of athlete intolerable 'transnational repression'


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about refugee programs for Afghans who aided the U.S. during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC, U.S. August 2, 2021. Brendan Smialowski/Pool via REUTERS

(Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken blasted Belarus' attempt to send home a sprinter from the Tokyo Olympics against her wishes as intolerable "transnational repression".

President Alexander Lukashenko's "regime sought to commit another act of transnational repression: attempting to force Olympian Krystsyna Tsimanouskaya to leave simply for exercising free speech", Blinken wrote on Twitter late on Monday.

"Such actions violate the Olympic spirit, are an affront to basic rights, and cannot be tolerated."

Tsimanouskaya, who sought refuge in the Polish embassy on Monday after refusing her team's orders to fly home, will travel to Poland on Wednesday, a group of her supporters said. Warsaw has offered her a humanitarian visa.

(Reporting by William Mallard; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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