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UK Olympic ban for leaders who abuse rights

Published:Thursday | May 24, 2012 | 12:00 AM


Britain will ban leaders guilty of human rights abuses from travelling to the United Kingdom for the 2012 London Olympics, a senior British official said yesterday.

Jeremy Browne, the Foreign Office minister, answered a question by Labour lawmaker Denis MacShane by saying that people linked to such crimes will not be allowed into the country.

"Where there is independent, reliable, and credible evidence that an individual has committed human rights abuses, the individual will not normally be permitted to enter the UK," Browne said in a written response to a parliamentary query.

He would not comment on individual cases, but said anyone subject to a European Union or UN travel ban would not be welcome.

Syrian president Bashar Assad's regime is under UN sanctions for its violent crackdown on dissent. The International Criminal Court has indicted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for genocide but appears nowhere close to having him arrested.

The British comments come after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he was eager to attend the London Olympics, but Britain didn't want to host him, according to the official IRNA news agency. There are UN sanctions against Iran.

MacShane seized on the comments and called for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Bahrain's King Hamad to be among those barred from the Olympics, which takes place from July 27 to August 12 in London. Neither is under sanctions.