Canada will impose sanctions on Belarus president, other senior officials

FILE PHOTO: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko stands near service members during an inauguration ceremony in Minsk, Belarus September 23, 2020. Andrei Stasevich/BelTA/Handout via REUTERS

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada is imposing sanctions against Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and 10 other senior officials for committing human rights violations, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

More than 12,000 people have been arrested, and hundreds remain in jail, since Lukashenko was declared the landslide winner of an Aug. 9 presidential election that the opposition denounced as rigged.

“Since the fraudulent presidential elections in August 2020, the Government of Belarus has conducted a systematic campaign of repression and state-sponsored violence against public protests and the activities of opposition groups,” said the statement.

Canada, which announced the sanctions in coordination with Britain, said the measures were part of a broader diplomatic effort to support the people of Belarus.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama