Belarus no longer issues passports to exiles

Belarus no longer issues passports to exiles

(Moscow) – Belarus, where the opposition has been driven into exile by repression, is now refusing to issue passports to its citizens from abroad, opposition-in-exile Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said on Tuesday, a day after publishing a decree to that effect signed by Alexander. Lukashenko.

“Today, the Lukashenko regime has denied Belarusians abroad the possibility of obtaining new passports from diplomatic missions,” she said on X (formerly Twitter).

“We are working with the host countries to resolve the situation and prepare the new Belarusian passport. If the state abandons its duty to take care of its citizens, we will not!”, she added.

Before speaking directly to Belarusian citizens living abroad, on Telegram: “I ask you not to panic and not to commit rash acts. Even if your passport has expired, you should not return to your home country if you risk being persecuted there.”

She added, “There is no document in the world that deserves human freedom.”

Under a decree signed by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday, Belarusian citizens will only be able to obtain or renew a passport at a “consular service attached to the last registered place of residence” in Belarus.

Belarusians living abroad so far can renew their passports at the Belarusian consulate in the country where they are staying.

Repression has been in full swing in Belarus since the 2020 presidential election was deemed rigged and won by Alexander Lukashenko, in power since 1994 and a staunch ally of Vladimir Putin in Russia.

The elections led to protest demonstrations of an unprecedented scale, which were suppressed by force.

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Since then, hundreds of activists, journalists, rights defenders and ordinary citizens have been sentenced to heavy prison terms or driven into exile.

According to the human rights NGO Viasna, there are currently approximately 1,500 political prisoners and thousands of exiles in Belarus.

During the disputed presidential election, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a 40-year-old refugee in Lithuania, became the leader of the opposition in Belarus. In early March, the court sentenced her in absentia to 15 years’ imprisonment.

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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