EU urged to impose visa bans on three local government officials in Mahilyow region

Anatol Lyabedzka, leader of the United Civic Party (UCP), used his meeting with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius in Minsk on July 25 to ask the European Union to impose an EU entry ban on three local government officials in the Mahilyow region.

As Uladzimir Shantsaw, head of the opposition party’s Mahilyow regional chapter, told BelaPAN, the officials denied UCP members permission to stage demonstrations in Mahilyow and Babruysk to mark the 24th anniversary of the adoption of Belarus` Declaration of State Sovereignty and express solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

“This time we decided not to complain to courts, as courts take sides with the government in such cases,” said Mr. Shantsaw. “We decided to send the list [of the officials] to European institutions for imposing visa sanctions on them.”

Mr. Shantsaw did not name the officials but described them as local government ideologists.

“Elections are de facto banned in our country, while rallies, assemblies and street marches are also banned. Ideologists who deny us what is guaranteed by the constitution are behind all of this. By the way, under Article Four of the constitution there may be no state ideology in our country,” he said.