EU blacklists 21 more Belarusians

2012 2012-02-28T15:33:15+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

The Council of the European Union on February 27 added 21 new names to the EU’s list of Belarusians subject to restrictive measures in connection with the ongoing crackdown on government opponents, BelaPAN said.

The press office of the EU Council said that the updated list would be published in the EU's Official Journal in the following few days, and that most of the newly blacklisted individuals were judges, prosecutors and police officers.

According to the press office, Belarusian businessman Yury Chyzh was not entered in the blacklist.

On January 31, 2011, the EU Council imposed asset freezes and travel bans on 156 Belarusian government officials and other individuals for their role in "the violations of international electoral standards" in the December 14-19, 2010 presidential election and a post-election crackdown on civil society and pro-democratic supporters. The Council blacklisted 19 more Belarusians in March, 13 in May, four in June and 16 in October, placing on the list mostly judges and prosecutors involved in the prosecution of post-election protesters. In December, it added the judge and the public prosecutor in the trial of prominent human rights defender Ales Byalyatski to the list.

Monday's decision by the EU Council increased the number of Belarusians on the blacklist to 222.

Earlier this month, the Brussels-based Office for a Democratic Belarus, more precisely its head, Volha Stuzhynskaya, came out with a proposal to shorten the EU’s blacklist by excluding university rectors, journalists and persons who no longer serve in the positions in which they allegedly took part in the persecution of government opponents.

The proposal drew severe criticism from pro-democracy groups inside and outside Belarus.

On February 10, the EU Council broadened the criteria for imposing sanctions on Belarusian individuals and entities in response to human rights abuse and the persecution of the government's political opponents.

The Council adopted a regulation to this effect on February 10. "Those amendments broaden the criteria for imposing admission restrictions and on asset freezes," said the Council’s press office. "Accordingly, such sanctions can be applied to persons responsible for serious violations of human rights or the repression of civil society and democratic opposition, and to persons and entities benefitting from or supporting the Lukashenka regime."