Switzerland has widened its sanctions against Belarus, joining other countries in acting after Belarusian authorities triggered outrage by intercepting a passenger flight in May and arresting a dissident blogger on board.This content was published on July 7, 2021 - 14:11
The Swiss government has added 78 individuals and seven organisations to its sanctions list for Belarus, said the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The new measures will take effect on Wednesday at 6pm, Swiss time.
Individuals involved include members of President Alexander Lukashenko’s family, including one of his sons and daughters-in-law, as well as ministers, parliamentarians, judges, prosecutors, air traffic control officials and businessmen.
Switzerland is thus following the European Union, which last month imposed wide-ranging economic sanctions on Belarus, targeting its main export industries and access to finance.
The regime of Alexander Lukashenko, in power since 1994, is accused of hijacking a European airliner in May to arrest Roman Protasevich, an opposition activist. Several airlines followed the EU’s recommendation to bypass Belarus and suspended their flights. European airspace has also been closed to Belarusian aircraft.
After the hijacking Switzerland demanded Protasevich’s immediate release. The foreign ministry also demanded a thorough investigation of the incident.
The regime is already targeted by many Western sanctions for having harshly repressed the protests that mobilised hundreds of thousands of Belarusians after the August 2020 presidential elections, deemed “rigged” by the Europeans.
Switzerland first imposed sanctions against Belarus in 2006.
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