Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

EU removes eight Belarusians from its blacklist

Naviny.by

The Council of the European Union on July 8 lifted entry bans and asset freezes against eight citizens of Belarus and placed one Belarusian on its blacklist.

According to the EU Official Journal, the list no longer includes Alyaksandr Arkhipaw, a former deputy prosecutor general; Hanna Samalyuk, a judge of the Frunzenski District Court in Minsk; Valery Berastaw, chairman of the Mahilyow regional election commission; Natallya Bushnaya, a member of the central election commission; prosecutor Andrey Mihun; Mikalay Svarob, a former deputy head of the Committee for State Security (KGB); Pyotr Tratsyak, deputy head of the KGB; and Ihar Varapayew, a former head of the Main Government Communications Directorate of the KGB.

Vital Volkaw, a judge of the Shklow District Court who sent former presidential candidate Mikalay Statkevich to a cell-type prison in January 2012, was added to the blacklist. As a result of Mr. Volkaw’s decision resulted in violations of Mr. Statkevich’s rights, including sleep deprivation and a threat to his health, the EU Official Journal said.

According to the press office of the Council of the EU, the Council amended EU sanctions against Belarus following a review.

“In the light of the continuing gravity of the human rights situation, it added one person to the list of those subject to restrictions,” the press office said. “At the same time, it considered that there are no longer grounds for keeping eight individuals subject to sanctions.”

This decision does not reflect a change in the EU's policy of critical engagement with Belarus, the press office stressed.

A total of 225 individuals, including Alyaksandr Lukashenka, are currently subject to travel bans and all of them plus 25 economic entities are subject to asset freezes.

The blacklist was drawn up in January 2011, following a brutal police crackdown on a post-election protest in Minsk. The list was repeatedly extended until it included 243 Belarusian individuals and 32 business entities.