Polish Entry Ban On Belarusian President, Henchmen

(RTTNews) - The Polish government has imposed an entry ban on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his henchmen in an apparent response to the authoritarian regime's violent suppression of post-poll protests.

"Along with Alexander Lukashenko, the list (of Belarus' leaders who will not be allowed to enter the country) contains the names of the Belarusian judges, prosecutors, and state service heads responsible for persecution of Opposition activists," Poland's PAP news agency reported on Tuesday, quoting the country's Foreign Ministry.

Responding to the report, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said it had not received any notification regarding this from Warsaw.

Minsk is facing additional punitive measures from European countries and the European Union (EU), irked by the handling of the post-election protests in the former Soviet Republic.

A week ago, the Czech Republic offered asylum to Belarusian Opposition members facing post-poll persecution when an Opposition delegation visited Prague. It also warned of sanctions on the authoritarian regime of that country.

The delegation led by lost presidential candidate Alexander Kozulin appealed to the EU member-states to take a unified stance toward the Belarusian leadership by strengthening sanctions targeting the Lukashenko regime, which is "tramping democracy."

An EU Foreign Ministers' conference slated for January 31 in Brussels is expected to announce entry ban on Belarusian leadership.

Lukashenko, dubbed by the United States as "Europe's last dictator," was re-elected for a fourth term with a landslide majority in the December 19 elections.

Declaration of the results followed violent anti-government protests in the capital with thousands of Opposition supporters taking to the streets alleging electoral fraud behind Lukashenko's victory.

Police and KGB agents detained more than 600 protesters, including presidential contestants. Opposition candidates Vitaly Rymashevsky and Vladimir Neklyaev were injured when the police broke up a rally of their supporters. Neklyaev was arrested from his hospital bed.

KGB released Rymashevsky from pre-trial detention center on January 1 after the 35-year-old Opposition leader wrote a letter of explanation to the President pledging not to leave the country.

Belarusian authorities say that other ex-presidential candidates under custody are healthy, a claim refuted by their relatives.


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