Print options

January 17, 2011

Poland Blacklists Belarus Officials

Poland has drawn up a list of officials from Belarus who will be barred from Poland in response to the Belarusian government's crackdown on opposition protesters after December's presidential election.

Polish media report the list includes Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and other members of his government.

The Polish foreign ministry on Tuesday confirmed the list exists, but would not say who is on it.

After Mr. Lukashenko was overwhelmingly re-elected to a fourth term last month, opposition supporters took to the streets, claiming the election had been fixed.

Belarusian security personnel used violence to disperse the protesters and arrested opposition leaders, drawing criticism from European and U.S. leaders.

The European Union also is set to consider sanctions against top Belarusian officials.

Poland and Germany have been strong critics of the government in Belarus.  Last week, a state-run Belarusian newspaper accused the two nations of helping orchestrate the opposition.   Both nations dismissed the allegation.

Election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) described vote-counting in the December election as "very bad."  Soon after, Belarus closed the OSCE office in Minsk.

European Union lawmakers have called for a travel ban and a financial asset freeze on Belarusian officials responsible for last month's violence.

The United States has described Mr. Lukashenko as Europe's last dictator.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.