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28.02.2012

EU Plans Further Belarus Sanctions, 21 Officials Targeted

   

The European Union plans to slap sanctions on 21 police and judicial officials in Belarus deemed responsible for repressing the opposition, an EU diplomat said Monday.

"They are highly-placed police officers and magistrates considered to be behind the arrest and sentencing of people opposed to the regime, " the source said. The sanctions, agreed by ambassadors to the bloc, may be formally adopted later in the day by EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.

The EU has already slapped an assets freeze and visa ban on 210 people over the continuing repression by President Alexander Lukashenko's regime of civil society, the political opposition and the independent media.

The assets of three entities linked to the regime also remain frozen while exports to Belarus of arms and materials that might be used for internal repression are prohibited.

The European Union on Friday tightened sanctions on Belarus, slapping an assets freeze and travel ban against two persons involved in the controversial trial of a human rights campaigner.

An EU statement said that "in view of the gravity of the situation in Belarus" it "today reinforced the EU's restrictive measures on those responsible for the continuing repression of civil society, the political opposition and the independent media in Belarus.

It said two persons associated with the trial of leading rights defender Ales Beliatsky would be targeted, bringing to 210 the number of people sanctioned in Belarus.

The assets of three entities linked to the regime also remain frozen while exports to Belarus of arms and materials that might be used for internal repression are prohibited.

The latest measueres were taken in December following the controversial trial of human rights campaigner Ales Bialiatsky.

He is the leader of the banned "Vyasna" (Spring) human rights group and a leading opponent of Lukashenko, who has the ruled ex-Soviet republic since 1994.

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