Belarus court dismisses EU sanctions as 'illegal'

The EU has no legal grounds for imposing sanctions against Belarus over the violent clamp-down on riots following elections in December, the Chairman of the Belarusian Constitutional Court said on Wednesday.

"The elections were held in accordance with the Constitution and the country's electoral legislation. The legitimate president was elected," Chairman Petr Miklashevich said.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution last week calling for immediate sanctions against the Belarusian leadership. The foreign ministers of the EU's 27 states are expected to reach a final decision on the issue when they hold their first meeting of the year on January 31 in Brussels.

Under the resolution, senior government officials and members of the judiciary and security agencies responsible for rigging the elections and persecuting the opposition would face a ban on visas and a freeze on bank accounts held on EU territory.

Miklashevich said opposition activists could appeal the results of presidential elections in a peaceful manner, through a court or the Central Election Committee.

Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus with an iron rod since 1994 and has been dubbed by the United States "Europe's last dictator" for his clampdown on opposition and dissent, gained a landslide victory in the polls with 79.67 percent of the vote on December 19, 2010.

MINSK, January 26 (RIA Novosti)


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