Russian human rights activist released in Minsk

MOSCOW, March 17 (Itar-Tass) - Russian human rights activist Andrei Yurov, detained in Minsk on Wednesday, has been released and will leave the republic within 24 hours.

He told the Russian News Service radio station that “the official reason for his detention – violation of the Belarusian state borer”.

“I’m surprised that Russian citizens are put into some lists of banned people. This is a real interference with activities of human rights activists and a violation of international norms,” he said.

According to Yurov, his organisation will not stop its activities. However, it is unclear so far how to carry on these actions. “I exercised activities on protection of rights in Belarus; and when asked whether the authorities interfere with our operations, I would always reply that everything is OK. The situation has changed due to some reasons,” he noted.

Yurov added that policemen had not put pressure on him and law enforcers had behaved politely. “I shall appeal my accusation. But I leave the country either this evening or Friday morning,” he concluded.

Head of the International Observation Mission on human rights in Belarus Yurov was detained by officers of Belarusian law enforcement bodies late in the evening of March 16 and brought to a police precinct of Minsk’s Sovetsky district.

The Russian embassy in Belarus sent a note to the Belarus’ Foreign Ministry with a request to inform it of all circumstances of Yurov’s detention in Minsk.

Earlier, the Belarusian human rights centre Vesna reported that the Belarus’ KGB decided to deport Yurov. “According to our information,” a human rights activist told Itar-Tass, “the KGB took a decision to deport Yurov from Belarus within 24 hours.”

According to an Itar-Tass dispatch from Minsk, well-known Russian human rights activist Andrei Yurov, detained in Minsk on March 16, is to leave Belarus within 24 hours and will not be able to come to the republic till February 15, 2013.

Yurov told Itar-Tass that he was given two documents at a police precinct in the Sovetsky district of the Belarusian capital. According to the human rights activist, one of documents says that he was put on the list of people whose stay is undesirable and banned in Belarus. “This ban on entry is in force till February 15, 2013,” he said.

Yurov also added that police officers intimated him that the decision on putting him on the list of banned people was taken not in police.

The second document is a refusal to institute a criminal case against a person whose stay is undesirable in the Belarusian territory. Yurov added that “it was good luck for me that Belarus perceived that I could not learn in any way that my name had been put on the list of banned people”.

Yurov regards the fact that Russian citizens are put on the list of banned persons by the Belarusian authorities, is not only illegal, but also outrageous. In actual fact, Belarus forbids Russian citizens to move freely in the territory of the Belarusian-Russian Union State, the Russian human rights activist underlined.


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