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Belarus issuing travel bans

  |   March 16, 2012 at 11:39 AM
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MINSK, Belarus, March 16 (UPI) -- Journalists and political opposition figures say they're being banned from leaving Belarus.

The travel bans, which have been imposed in the past week on a number of journalists, opposition figures and human rights activists, appear to be linked to recent European Union sanctions that prevent top Belarusian officials from entering the EU, The New York Times reported Friday.

Two journalists were stopped Thursday from leaving the country. One was kicked off a train at the border with Poland and the other was prevented from getting on a flight, the newspaper said.

The Belarusian Association of Journalists said the government has not given journalists any information about who imposed the temporary restrictions on international travel. The group said a number of political and human rights activists have also faced the same problem.

Tensions between Belarus and the EU have been heightened by sanctions against the government of President Alexander Lukashenko, accused of harsh treatment in its dealings with political prisoners.

The government was accused of cracking down against political opposition after protests against Lukashenko's 2010 re-election. He has ruled since 1994.

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