Belarusian border guards said the politician was denied entry to the country due to “instructions from the Russian authorities”.
MEP Marek Migalski, who was deported from Belarus, said it at a press conference in the Polish Sejm, a charter97.org correspondent reports.
“We were against holding the Ice Hockey World Championship in Belarus from the very beginning. Many Belarusians do not enjoy the event, because they are in prisons, or their relatives are in prisons, or they suffer from lack of democracy and freedom of speech. To my regret, the championship started on a decision of the independent organisation, the International Ice Hockey Federation. So, my aides, I and other public figures and human rights defenders from Norway, Sweden and Switzerland have decided we want to use the situation, if the regime becomes open for two weeks, and visit the country to meet with activists, relatives of the political prisoners and ordinary Belarusians. We bought tickets for the match Belarus vs Switzerland counting to arrive in the country by train,” he said.
The politician notes they faced problems at the passport control.
“I was said I couldn't enter the country, but my aides could continue their trip. We didn't agree, so we were ordered to leave the train and had to wait for three hours in the transit zone. We were said I wasn't allowed to enter Belarus on decision of the Russian authorities. I asked asked why I couldn't enter the country and why it was the decision of the Russian authorities, but the border guards didn't answer and repeated the decision wouldn't change. We took the train back to Poland and arrived in Warsaw this morning,” the MEP said.
Marek Migalski stressed he had been denied entry to Belarus for the third time.
“We knew that our friends from Norway, Switzerland and Sweden had been deported from Belarus. For example, Swedish human rights defender Martin Uggla had to spend 24 hours at the airport in Minsk. We were ready for this turn of events. We planned to meet with relatives of the political prisoners, public figures, representatives of NGOs and the Union of Poles in Belarus. In addition, we wanted to attend the match between Belarus and Switzerland wearing T-shirts with portraits of political prisoners, raise white-red-white flags and express our solidarity.
We wanted to do it, because we think holding the Ice Hockey World Championship and the Olympic Games in dictatorial countries are a mistake. Dictators use them to legitimise their regimes. Putin did it in Sochi, Lukashenka is doing it in Belarus. A classic dictatorship with political prisoners, political killings, torture and lack of democracy exists 200 kilometres of Warsaw. We need to remind people about it. The problem is not that I was banned from entering. The problem is that people are held in jail for seeking freedom for their fellow citizens. It's a call on the media to cover these problems. It's a call on the Poles, who have some time and money, to buy a ticket, go to Belarus and talk to the Belarusians telling them how the free world really looks like,” he summarised.