Updated at 11:40,06-05-2021

Journalist Natallya Radzina staying in refugee camp


Natallya Radzina, editor of opposition news site charter97.org, is staying in a foreign country's refugee camp.

In an interview posted on the website on April 3, the journalist said that she was waiting for her application for political asylum to be processed.
"Hopefully, all these procedures will be completed soon and I will be able again to work, meet friends. But I won't name the country so far," she was quoted as saying.

Ms. Radzina, 31, declined to speak about the details of her journey abroad, citing fears that it could harm the people who helped her. She revealed that she had decided to flee abroad after being told to present herself at the KGB's central office in Minsk on March 31. "I'm thankful to everyone who helped me leave, this was a true exploit on their part," the journalist said.

Ms. Radzina was arrested immediately after a police crackdown on the December 19 post-election demonstration in Minsk's central Independence Square and placed in the KGB detention center. She was released on her own recognizance on January 28 and ordered not to leave the city of Kobryn, Brest region, where she is registered as a resident.

Ms. Radzina was ordered to visit the KGB office in Minsk on March 31, presumably for a formal charge of organizing "mass disorder" to be brought against her.
Ms. Radzina's mother told BelaPAN that she had seen her daughter board a train to Minsk late on March 30 and could not reach her by phone the following day.
The journalist’s father, Valyantsin, confirmed to BelaPAN that his daughter had left the country.

"An unknown person phoned us in the morning to say that she was abroad," the father said on April 1. "He didn’t say how she left the country or where she is currently staying."

Ms. Radzina was let out of the KGB jail, along with several other opposition figures, a few days before the EU Foreign Affairs Council’s January 31 meeting, at which a decision was made on sanctions against the Belarusian government over its post-election crackdown on opponents.

In mid-March, one more opposition figure charged in the criminal case in connection with the post-election protest, former presidential candidate Ales Mikhalevich, left Belarus. The 35-year-old politician, who was held in the KGB detention center for two months, fled to the Czech Republic and was granted political asylum there a week later.