IFLRY delegation detained in Mogilev (Belarus) and forced to leave the country

IFLRY delegation detained in Mogilev (Belarus) and forced to leave the country

On the 18th of September 2012 a group of 8 liberal individuals representing the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) was detained while visiting an educational event in Mogilev, Belarus, organized by local youth organizations. The group includes individuals from Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Armenia, the USA and Austria and is led by IFLRY Belarus Programme Manager Daniel George and IFLRY Executive Director Mane Manukyan. Around 6 pm the event was raided by Belarusian immigration officers, police and members of other security institutions. All members of the delegation were taken to the Immigration Office and questioned for about 3 hours. On the 19th of September the group received the decision that they will have to leave the country by midnight of the next day.

Daniel George stated: “The decision to expel us from the country is not reasonable. We were invited to an educational event that did not infringe any laws of the Republic of Belarus. The accusation that the group was violating Visa regulations and that a touristic- and study-visit cannot include visiting public events is groundless and we will appeal against it. Nethertheless the group will leave the country as ordered, also as the security-situation  is deteriorating”.

Mane Manukyan added: “It is obvious that the authorities are afraid of a peaceful exchange of youth and foreigners visiting the country. A government that has nothing to hide would not expel non-provocative visitors from Belarus without a serious reason. It is especially ridiculous that the Belarusian authorities believe that we were providing false information about the purpose of our visit”.

“As we are about to leave the country and continue our lives in freedom and liberty, we strongly hope that our Belarusian friends will not face any hardships as a result of this situation. The IFLRY Belarus Programme will continue its struggle for a free and democratic Belarus and support youth in the country”, concludes Daniel George.

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