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Alena Leuchanka: The feeling we are becoming like North Korea

Alena Leuchanka at a protest in Minsk / Photo from social media

Belarus' world-famous female basketball star Alena Leuchanka has commented for on the latest developments in the sports sector where authorities seek to exert more control over Belarusian athletes. Over 400 Belarusian athletes who signed an open demand to the authorities to stop police violence have found themselves under pressure. Sport officials say they plan to make amendments in their contracts. Under the amendments, athletes must learn the words of the state anthem and are banned from giving interviews to media. On Tuesday, the stars released a video appeal warning the sport officials.

"Instead of focusing on sportive tasks and performances, we observe psychological pressure on athletes. Our officials like repeating that sport should be out of politics but in this case we are witnessing human rights violations, " Leuchanka says.

All of this is happening in the center of Europe in the 21st century. "The feeling is that we are increasingly becoming like North Korea: you are banned from doing this or that," the basketballer said. 

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