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Lithuanian foreign ministry demands answers after citizen dies in Belarusian prison

by Marko Florentino
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Lithuanian government demands answers after citizen dies in Belarusian prison.

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A Lithuanian citizen arrested on the border between Lithuania and Belarus has died in a Belarusian prison. The Lithuanian authorities only learnt of the death after repeated attempts to contact the detainee.

“Many requests were made, many letters were written, many appeals were made for a meeting. We have not been given it, so we wrote another note. As a response to this note, we have received a call from the Belarusian institutions that it is not possible to organize a meeting, because the Lithuanian citizen is dead,” says Asta Andrijauskiene, the Lithuanian Ambassador-at-Large to Belarus.

Surprised and outraged by the death of the Lithuanian citizen, the Lithuanian authorities are demanding explanations from their Belarusian counterparts.

According to the Lithuanian ambassador, “many Lithuanian citizens are detained in Belarus” for different reasons. In most cases, the authorities are informed by people who have lost track of relatives who have left for Belarus.

Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya last week marched to the country’s embassy in Lithuania, holding a photo of her imprisoned husband and demanding information about him after a year of being incommunicado.

Siarhei Tsikhanouski is among several prominent imprisoned opposition figures whom relatives say have not been heard from in a year or more.

“For exactly a year, neither I nor my children know about the fate of Siarhei, who is being held in prison by the Belarusian authorities in complete isolation,” Tsikhanouskaya said.

She called on the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to intervene with Belarus about the fate of political prisoners.



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