Good news from Lithuania for the Belarusian objector: Vitali is free again as of today, pending appeal.
Dvarashyn Vitali, the Belarusian conscientious objector who had been locked up in the Lithuanian refugee camp in Vilnius due to the revocation of his residence permit and [who is] at risk of extradition as an “undesirable” person, was freed last night by a magistrate’s order, pending the court’s ruling on his appeal, which will be issued on June 28.
Vitali was able to be assisted by a trusted attorney, Rytis Satkauskas, a Lithuanian lawyer from ReLex Law Firm, thanks to the Nonviolent Movement’s Campaign to Object to War, which is covering his legal expenses, and offers counseling support with attorney Nicola Canestrini.
The many letters of solidarity, sent from all over Europe, and many from Italy, to the Lithuanian Government Immigration Office, also certainly contributed to this first positive result.
Vitali had been locked up in a security cell since June 20, but he immediately appealed against the suspension of his residence permit and filed a request to be recognized as a “political refugee” because of his refusal to be sent back to Belarus where he would be re-enlisted in the army and where he would face a 7-year prison sentence for his pacifist activities and his declaration of conscientious objection.
Vitali is being assisted, supported, and aided in his struggle for respect for human rights by the Belarusian pacifist and nonviolent association “Our House,” led by Olga Karach, which operates in exile in Lithuania.
Today is a day of joy at regaining freedom, but the next deadlines are delicate and difficult. There will be the court ruling on the residence permit, and then the risk of deportation.
Our political demand is addressed to the European Union, which must respect its own order on the human right to conscientious objection, and then – we believe – grant political refugee status to all those young Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians who do not want to participate in the greatest crime against humanity that is war.
P.S. You can contribute financially to the Objection to War Campaign with free deposits to Iban IT35 U 07601 11700 0000 18745455.
Reason: “Legal expenses for Russian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian objectors.”