LONDON – Britain will ban leaders guilty of human rights abuses from traveling to the U.K. for the 2012 London Olympics, a senior British official said Wednesday.
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 a written response to a parliamentary query.
He would not comment on individual cases but said anyone subject to a European Union or U.N. travel ban will not be welcome.
Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is under U.N. 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 U.N. 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 take place from July 27 to Aug. 12 in London. Neither is under sanctions.