[JURIST Europe] President Bush has imposed a US travel ban on Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko [official website; BBC profile] and his associates. In a proclamation [text] released Monday, Bush cited election fraud, corruption and human rights violations as reasons for the ban, saying that its targets are those who "undermine or injure democratic institutions or impede the transition to democracy in Belarus." The Bush administration has in the past referred to Lukashenko as “Europe’s last dictator” [White House press secretary statement].
The European Union issued a travel ban [JURIST report] against Belarus officials almost immediately following the March presidential elections, which were widely criticized for fraud and irregularities [JURIST report]. The jailing [JURIST report] of several opposition leaders after a rally in Minsk last month prompted further outrage from the international community. Belarus’ current government enjoys the support of neighboring Russia; President Vladimir Putin [official website] was one of the only world leaders to congratulate Lukashenko on his victory. Reuters has more.
Tatyana Margolin is an Associate Editor for JURIST Europe, reporting European legal news from a European perspective. She is based in the UK.