22 February 2020, Saturday, 8:56
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Mikalai Statkevich Arrested At Border

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Mikalai Statkevich Arrested At Border
MIKALAI STATKEVICH

The politician was handcuffed at the Losha border crossing between Belarus and Lithuania.

Belarusian National Congress leader Mikalai Statkevich was arrested at the border. The politician was handcuffed at the Losha border crossing between Belarus and Lithuania.

Politician’s wife Maryna Adamovich informed Charter97.org about that.

"We were driving to Lithuania through the border crossing Losha. After checking the passports, the border guards detained Mikalai Statkevich, handcuffed him, the car belonging to me was driven back to the parking lot, and Mikalai and I were placed in some kind of utility room where we were guarded by a lieutenant.

The reasons for the detention have not been explained, apparently, they are waiting for orders from high authorities in Minsk. The border guards refused to introduce themselves," – Maryna Adamovich said.

About an hour after the detention, the politician was released. "They removed the handcuffs, freed the car, and released us. Without any explanations or apologies," – Maryna Adamovich wrote on Facebook.

We remind, that the meeting of heads of government of countries of the Central European Initiative is being held in Minsk today.

Mikalai Statkevich has told Radio Liberty that he usually uses the border-crossing point Losha when travelling toLithuania, but no such detentions have ever happened before:

“We usually say — check whether we are on the list of persons banned from going abroad,” — one of the BNC leaders says. — We say that we know they are supposed to report about us, and that there will be the red line on their screen.

But this time they ordered to park the car, enclosed it from all the directions and handcuffed me without revealing any reasons for that. So I told them, if you use special equipment, tell the reason. And they replied: “We have a secret instruction, an algorythm of actions.” They called no names, just numbers. They left a Lieutenant, he ran away, everyone was hiding, no explanations. I asked them whether they had the right, they replied in the positive. Does this apply to everyone?”

Mikalai Statkevich was held in handcuffs for about 30 minutes, then they were removed and he was set free. During this time, a queue formed at the border, but the first Belarusian in it recognized the politician and let Mikalai Statkevich pass before him, so that he would not be late. Mikalai Statkevich talked with the journalists already at the territory of Lithuania.

According to one of the leaders of the BNC, an order to detain them could come from Minsk, and they did not know what to do with it; or the order was old, canceled everywhere, but not accidentally canceled on this particular border crossing point.

He doubts that the detention is connected with the purpose of the trip, as he was not going to a political event. But the order was, according to Mikalai Statkevich, to commit precisely the cruel, “criminal” detention with handcuffs, because if he had not been let go because of unpaid fines or pending days of arrest, they would have been more restrained.

“I only pity the relatives,” — Mikalai Statkevich adds. "My father is waiting, because I always call after crossing the border, and specify the time when I'll call in advance. And the wife is nervous. As for me, this show, these tricks do not surprise me.”