Belarus: Ukrainian writer apprehended and banned from entry

Belarusian security agents apprehended Ukrainian writer and poet Serhiy Zhadan from his hotel in Minsk in the middle of the night of 11 February 2017, detained him overnight in a prison cell and ordered him to leave the country by the end of the day, reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on 11 February 2017.

Zhadan, who was in Minsk to attend a poetry festival, said on his Facebook that he was later informed that Russia banned him from entering the country in 2015 for “involvement in terrorist activity”, explaining that since Belarus is in the same visa zone as Russia, the ban “automatically spread” to Belarus.

Zhadan is a politically active artist who was involved in the 2014 demonstrations against Moscow-friendly, then-President Viktor Yanukovych.

Belrausian Interior Ministry head of immigration Alyaksey Byahum told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on 13 February that after looking into Zhadan’s case a “very high level” decision was made to reverse the entry ban.

The official added that the news was relayed to the writer on 11 February and that he returned to Ukraine the next day.

Ukrainians do not need a visa to enter Belarus or Russia; however, both Ukraine and Russia have blacklisted artists and others from entering each other’s countries due to the conflict beginning in 2014 over the contested sovereignty of Crimea.

In February 2016, Belarusian singer Max Korzh was denied entry into Ukraine where he was due to go on a five-city tour. Korzh was given a five-year ban from entering the country because of performances he made in crime in 2014.


Photo: Serhiy Zhadan/Wikicommons


Sources

» Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – 13 February 2017
‘Verh high-level’ Belarusian authorities reversed ban on Ukrainian author

» Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – 11 February 2017
Prominent Ukrainian author seized in Belarus, ordered to leave

» Interfax-Ukraine – 11 February 2017
Ukrainian writer Zhadan detained by police in Minsk over ban to enter Belarus

» Ukrinform – 11 February 2017
Detention of writer Zhadan: MAE is preparing a note to Belarus


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