EU to Extend the List of Belarusian officials, judges and Law-Enforcement Officers Banned from Its Territory
Representatives of the European Union declare their intention to extend the list of Belarusians who would be banned from its territory. However, they have not revealed any names yet. We know that these are the people who participated in the politically-motivated trial over the former presidential candidate Alexander Kazulin. In July 2006 Kazulin was sentenced to 5.5 years of jail by Maskouski district court Judge Aliaksei Rybakou. Last week the verdict was upheld by Minsk city court judges Valer Kamisarau, Siarhei Khrypach, and Ludmila Shapashnikava.
Human rights defender Uladzimir Labkovich supports the decision of the European Union: “Certainly, we understand the position of the European Union, when it introduces such black lists. In general, this is the only tool the democratic countries can use to influence Belarusian officials of different levels, who humiliate people, violate the human rights, and persecute the opponents of the regime. The black list should be extended. However, I think it should not be limited to one criminal case, for example, Kazulin’s case. The Belarusian authorities have created a system which works not only to put pressure on its political opponents, but also to destroy civic activity and public resistance to dictatorship. I am talking about the politically motivated criminal case against Partnership, and many other cases. I think such sanctions should also be applied to rectors and deans of higher educational institutions which excluded students who took part in peaceful actions of protest. Sanctions should also be applied to officials from the Ministry of Justice who shut down non-governmental organizations depriving people of the right to freedom of association. Certainly, they should also apply to law-enforcement officers who disperse peaceful protest actions and prosecute their participants. These people feel they act with impunity. However, they will have to bear responsibility. That is why such lists of people banned from the EU are the only mechanism the European countries can use in order to influence the Belarusian officials who cooperate with the government and support the dictatorship”.