London: The British-born wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Asma, cannot be barred entry to the UK, despite an EU travel ban imposed after disclosures about an online shopping spree involving retailers in London and Paris, the country’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has said.
Hague, however, said that she is not expected to travel to Britain given the current circumstances in Syria.
“British passport holders do obviously have a right of entry to the United Kingdom,” The Telegraph quoted Hague, as saying.
“But given that we are imposing an asset freeze on all of these individuals and a travel ban on other members of the same family and the regime, we are not expecting Assad to try to travel to the United Kingdom at the moment,” he added.
According to the paper, under Home Office guidelines, Assad would be allowed back into Britain if she so wished.
“If you are a UK citizen then you can`t be refused entry to the UK,” the Home Office says.
“It is important to note that sanctions are imposed on individuals to encourage them to change their behaviour. While this is based on evidence, sanctions are not the results of a criminal conviction and therefore the imposition of sanctions would not lead to automatic arrest or action to deprive someone of their nationality,” it adds.
According to the report, Asma, as well as her husband`s mother, sister and sister-in-law, have been banned from travelling to European Union countries and freezing any assets she may have there.
The foreign ministers also imposed a ban on eight government ministers, while the assets of two Syrian companies were frozen.