Switzerland joins EU in sanctions against top Belarus officials

Riot police clashed with protesting pensioners in central Minsk on Monday. Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

The Swiss government has imposed financial and travel sanctions against 40 former and current officials in Belarus who are accused of violence and arbitrary arrests following controversial elections in the country.

This content was published on October 13, 2020 - 17:57

According to the announcement from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) on Tuesday, the list of officials includes Interior Minister Yuri Karayev for his role in "repression and an intimidation campaign" in the wake of the election. The measures, which come into force at 18:00 Central European time on October 13, include blocking financial assets and a ban on entry into Switzerland.

The officials have been added to a list of sanctioned officialsExternal link and institutions as part of measures imposed in 2006 against Belarus officials due to violations of the rule of law in the presidential election in March 2006. The last time the list was updated was in 2016.

The European Union had already announced sanctions against the 40 officials. On Monday, EU foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions on Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko if he doesn’t pursue serious talks with the opposition about new elections and eases a crackdown against protesters.

According to SECO, the Swiss government is concerned about the tense situation in the country following elections that led to weeks of violent confrontations between the police and protestors.

Switzerland has called on Belarus to comply with international human rights obligations including the release of all arbitrarily detained persons and the investigation of allegations of torture or ill-treatment by security forces.

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