EU hits Belarus with more sanctions

Oct. 10, 2011 at 10:37 AM

LUXEMBOURG, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- The European Union during a Monday meeting in Luxembourg added names to the growing list of Belarusian authorities sanctioned for political activities.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko granted pardons to 11 opposition activists arrested during post-election violence in Minsk last year. None of those released, however, were among the president's political rivals.

One of his opponents, however, was pardoned last week. The president, the government said in a statement, was "guided by the principles of humanity" when it decided to issue the pardon.

Nevertheless, most of the 16 names added to the list of 192 Belarusian officials barred from entering EU member states were judges who sentenced opposition figures detained after the December election, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

Previous sanctions imposed by the EU, which were to expire at the end of this month, were extended for another year.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said, ahead of the vote on Belarus, that "repression is in no way acceptable and it is important that the EU act together with great conviction."

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