EU extends Belarus visa ban list

By Andrew Rettman

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The EU on Monday (23 October) extended the list of names on its Belarus visa ban and asset freeze list from 31 to 35 names.

Judges Alexei Rybakov and Leonid Yasinovich plus public prosecutors Sergei Bortnik and Andrei Migun joined the register, which also includes president Aleksander Lukashenko.

The move comes "in light of recent events" targeting individuals who are "considered responsible for the crackdown on civil society and democratic opposition" in the country.

The upholding of a five year jail sentence for Belarusian opposition presidential candidate Alexander Kozulin last month triggered the move, EU diplomats say.

The Monday vote was taken by EU environment ministers meeting in Luxembourg, but was previously cleared by EU diplomats at a lower political level.

It comes after the EU two weeks ago opted to put on ice plans to slap mini-trade sanctions on Minsk due to violation of international trade union codes.