Fugitive Belarusian activist asks for political asylum in Lithuania
|Publisher||Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty|
|Publication Date||8 August 2011|
|Cite as||Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Fugitive Belarusian activist asks for political asylum in Lithuania, 8 August 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e4a293bc.html [accessed 23 April 2014]|
August 08, 2011
Belarusian journalist Natallya Radzina's whereabouts had been unknown since April 1.
MINSK – A prominent Belarusian opposition activist who fled the country four months ago to avoid trial has disclosed she is in Lithuania where she has asked for political asylum.
Natallya Radzina made the announcement on August 8 on the opposition charter97.org website, of which she is chief editor.
Radzina was charged with participation in an unsanctioned mass protest against the results of the December 19 presidential election that gave incumbent President Alyaksandr Lukashenka another term.
After being held for a month in a KGB detention center, she was released on March 30 and allowed to return her home town of Kobryn in western Belarus.
She disappeared the following day, after she failed to turn up for KGB questioning in Minsk.
Radzina's relatives told RFE/RL's Belarus Service on April 1 that an unidentified person phoned them and said, "Natalya is out of the country now."
In her announcement, Radzina wrote that she managed to escape to Moscow, where she contacted officials with the United Nations refugee agency.
"I am very grateful to the Russian authorities for not extraditing me to Belarus, despite existing agreements between Belarus and Moscow on cooperation in such cases," Radzina wrote.
Radzina wrote that after obtaining UN refugee status, she left for the Netherlands and later went to Lithuania, where her website is registered and where the web team of charter97.org is based.
Radzina said she officially applied for political asylum in Lithuania on August 4.