EU slaps sanctions on Myanmar judiciary

BRUSSELS: The European Union today extended its sanctions against the Myanmar regime following the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, slapping a visa ban and asset freeze on members of the judiciary.

The “targetted measures”

by the 27 EU nations also widen the bloc’s existing assets freeze to cover businesses “owned and controlled

by members of the regime” and their associates.

The moves were taken “in reaction to the verdict against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and given the gravity of the violation of her fundamental rights,” the European Council said in a written statement approved, via a written procedure, by all 27 EU capitals.

Under the new restrictive measures “members of the

judiciary responsible for the verdict are added to the existing list of persons and entities subject to a travel ban and

to an assets freeze,” the

statement said.

The European Union, which first imposed sanctions on Myanmar in 1996, says the trial was “unjustified” and is calling for Suu Kyi’s “unconditional release,” the statement stressed. The EU’s sanctions are aimed at those in the

military regime “who benefit most from its misrule, and those who actively frustrate the process of national reconciliation, respect for human rights and progress towards democracy,” the European Council said.

The European Union slapped its first set of sanctions on Myanmar in 1996, banning arms exports, imposing visa restrictions on junta allies and families, limiting diplomatic contacts and freezing officials’ offshore accounts.

New measures were taken in 2007 after a crackdown on pro-democracy protests by Buddhist monks, banning European firms from importing wood, minerals, gems and metals from Myanmar.