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Belarus Deports Russian Journalist As 'Threat To Security'

Iryna Khalip
Iryna Khalip
MOSCOW -- The Belarusian authorities have deported a Russian journalist after he talked to the wife of a jailed opposition leader in Minsk, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Igor Karmazin of the daily "Moskovsky komsomolets" told RFE/RL on his arrival in Moscow today that he was detained after interviewing Iryna Khalip.

Khalip is married to former presidential candidate Andrey Sannikau, who was jailed for five years in May over the mass protests that broke out in Minsk in December following the announcement of the reelection for a further term of incumbent President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Karmazin said several men in civilian clothes approached him after he talked to Khalip, and forced him into a car without giving either their names or the reason for his detention.

"When they brought me to the police station, they demanded that I empty all my pockets and deleted all the data from my recorder. They photographed and fingerprinted me. To my mind, a number of my rights were violated," Karmazin said.

Karmazin said the official justification for his deportation from Belarus was that he "poses a threat to Belarus's security."

Karmazin was told by the police that he is barred from traveling to Belarus for one year. In the event that he enters the country before October 26, 2012, he may face up three years in jail.

"That is all written in the documents they gave me. I am not going to sue the authorities in Belarus, but I am going to write about Belarus and about what happened to me there," Karmazin said.

Foreign Ministry press secretary Andrey Savinykh told journalists today that Karmazin was deported from the country because he had no official accreditation to work in Belarus as a journalist, and therefore had no right to engage in journalistic activities in Minsk.

Read more in Belarusian here