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29 Sep, 2020 21:05

In unprecedented step, UK & Canada impose sanctions on Lukashenko & other Belarus big wigs over ‘rigged elections’ & ‘repression’

In unprecedented step, UK & Canada impose sanctions on Lukashenko & other Belarus big wigs over ‘rigged elections’ & ‘repression’

The British and Canadian governments imposed sanctions, on Tuesday, against long-time Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko, along with his eldest son Viktor, and six other high-ranking officials in the state apparatus.

The sanctions mean that those on the list are banned from traveling to the UK and Canada, and any assets they hold in those countries will be immediately frozen. Lukashenko is the first world leader to be targeted by the new UK Global Human Rights sanctions regime.

“Alexander Lukashenko’s regime is responsible for a string of human rights violations against opposition figures, media, and the people of Belarus in the wake of rigged elections,” the British government’s statement said. “Despite numerous calls from the international community, he has refused to engage in dialogue with the opposition, choosing instead to double down on his violent repression.”

READ MORE: ‘Why didn't you hand over power to Yellow Vests?' Belarus’s Lukashenko tells Macron after French leader calls for his resignation

The statement quoted British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who explained that the sanctions were imposed “in response to the torture and mistreatment of hundreds of peaceful protestors.”

In the Canadian government’s statement, Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne said his nation was standing “in solidarity with the people of Belarus as they struggle to restore human rights and achieve democracy in their country.”

Outside of the Lukashenko family, the six sanctioned officials are Chief of Staff Igor Sergeenko, Interior Minister Yuri Karayev, Chief of Public Security Police Alexander Barsukov, Commander of Internal Troops Yuri Nazarenko, Deputy Commander of Internal Troops Khazalbek Atabekov, and Special Purpose Police Detachment of Minsk Commander Dmitry Balaba.

Also on rt.com Belarusian police make almost 200 arrests as Minsk & other cities play host to more large anti-Lukashenko protests (VIDEOS)

Lukashenko was elected for a sixth term as the Belarusian president on August 9, in a contest many consider to have been rigged. According to the official results, he received 80.10 percent of the vote, with opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya receiving 10.12 percent.

Immediately after polling stations closed, mass protests began against the alleged falsification of results. During the first few days of rallies, police and soldiers used tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets to disperse protesters, with reports of multiple fatalities. In the weeks since, the protests have become less frequent and less violent, but still attract thousands of Belarusian citizens.

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