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District Court In Minsk Supports Deportation Of Rights Activist

MINSK -- The Pershamay District Court in Belarusian capital, Minsk, has rejected an appeal by a rights advocate who has been ordered to leave Belarus.

Yelena Tonkachyova, a Russian citizen who heads the Lawtrend Legal Transformation Center, must now leave Belarus.

Tonkachyova has lived in Belarus since 1985.

She was officially informed on October 30 that her residence permit had been annulled and was ordered in November to leave the country for three years.

Lawtrend is a nongovernmental organization that promotes freedom of expression, freedom of association, and the right of access to information, justice, and a fair trial.

It has been operating in Minsk since 1996.

Tonkachyova says she has no place to stay in Russia because her relatives are all Belarusian citizens.

She has three days to appeal to an upper court over the lower court’s January 13 ruling against her.

With reporting by BelaPAN