Poland draws up Belarusian blacklist

Poland's foreign ministry has compiled a black list of Belarusian officials who will not be allowed into Poland - a ban, Polish Radio understands, will be in place from 31 January.

The yet unpublished blacklist comprises up to several hundred names who were responsible for a crackdown on the Belarusian democratic opposition following presidential elections on 19 December.

President Alexander Lukashenko, dubbed Europe's last dictator, tops the list.

Belarusian foreign minister Sergei Martynov will be allowed into Poland, however, because Warsaw does not want to sever all channels of dialogue with Belarus.

"When political prisoners appear on the scene, we should respond by telling the authorities forcefully what we think about such behavior", says Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.

President Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, won over 79 percent of votes, in what foreign observers said were flawed elections in December.

The authorities used force against protesting opposition political activists. As many as 600 of them were jailed and a may spend up to 15 years in prison.


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