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Russian human rights activist Andrei Yurov
Belarusian authorities have given a Russian human rights activist 24 hours to leave the country, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports

Andrei Yurov, who travelled to Minsk this week to assess the human rights situation in Belarus, was detained on March 16.

After he was released, Yurov told RFE/RL that he was officially informed that his name had been included in a list of individuals banned from entering Belarus.

Yurov added that he was officially asked to leave the country in 24 hours. He described as absurd a situation in which individuals are added to a blacklist not by a court but by some unknown institutions.

He said he thought his visit was legal since "there are no borders between Russia and Belarus," a reference to the two countries' visa-free regime that means there is no passport control for passengers arriving in Belarus from Russia.

He said he is awaiting a reaction to his case from rights bodies such as the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Vadim Gusev, an official at the Russian Embassy in Minsk, told RFE/RL that the Embassy has sent an official note to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry requesting an explanation for Yurov's detention. Gusev added that the Russian Embassy will do its best to protect Yurov's rights.

Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrey Savinykh told Interfax that he knew nothing about a list of Russian citizens barred from entering Belarus.

He said Minsk informed the Russian Embassy about Yurov's detention and directed further questions to law enforcement.

Read more in Belarusian here
Russian human rights activist Andrej Yurov
MINSK -- The Russian Embassy is seeking an explanation from Belarusian authorities after a Russian human rights activist was detained in the capital, Minsk, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Well-known activist Andrei Yurov, who traveled to Minsk this week to assess the human rights situation in Belarus, was detained on March 16.

The police who detained Yurov told him his name is on a list of foreigners who are banned from entering the Republic of Belarus.

There is no passport control for passengers arriving in Belarus from Russia, as the two countries have a visa-free regime. Yurov's arrival in Minsk therefore was not recorded by border-control officials.

Vadim Gusev, an official at the Russian Embassy in Minsk, told RFE/RL that the embassy has sent an official note to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry requesting an explanation for Yurov's detention. Gusev added that the Russian Embassy will do its best to protect Yurov's rights.

Yurov's colleagues in Belarus say police confiscated his personal belongings and mobile phone.

Read more in Belarusian here

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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