Switzerland is the latest country to freeze the financial assets of Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
The Swiss government announced on December 12 that Lukashenka, his son Viktar, and 13 other Belarusians connected with the Lukashenka regime had been banned from entering or transiting through Switzerland.
The sanctioned officials are all believed to be involved in the violent suppression of protests that have swept Belarus since the disputed August 9 presidential election.
“Switzerland is deeply concerned by the ongoing tensions and is calling for dialogue between the Belarus government and civil society,” the Swiss government said in announcing the sanctions.
Official results of that poll gave Lukashenka a sixth presidential term, but the election has been widely criticized as rigged.
Since the election, the opposition has held regular protests, most of which have been met with harsh repression by the police.
According to the United Nations, more than 27,000 people have been detained. There have also been credible reports of torture and ill-treatment.
Bern, 11.12.2020 – On 11 December, the Federal Council extended sanctions against Belarus. Financial sanctions and travel bans were imposed on 15 individuals, including President Alexander Lukashenko. The new measures come into force at 6pm on 11 December.
The sanctions are in line with the decisions taken by the EU on 6 November 2020. The 15 persons newly added to the list in Annex 1 to the Ordinance on Measures against Belarus (SR 9126.96.36.199) are alleged to be responsible for the use of violence and arbitrary arrests following the contested elections in Belarus. Those subject to the sanctions include President Alexander Lukashenko and his son and national security advisor, Viktor Lukashenko. The individuals concerned have been banned from entering or travelling through Switzerland. Their assets are to be frozen and must be reported to SECO without delay.
The Federal Council also decided to amend the ordinance to include an embargo on armaments and goods that may be used for internal repression. The EU imposed a similar embargo in 2011. Switzerland has to date largely implemented that embargo based on existing war materiel and dual-use goods legislation. In adopting the embargo on armaments and goods that may be used for internal repression, the Federal Council is reacting to the ongoing repression of civil society and opposition groups in Belarus.
On 12 October 2020, in response to the events following the presidential elections, the EAER already added the names of 40 persons to the sanctions list in the Annex to the Ordinance. Switzerland thereby followed the example of EU, which imposed sanctions on 2 October 2020.