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8.05.2014

Swedish human rights activist has been held at Minsk airport for 10 hours  ?

11:52, — Politics

Swedish human rights activist has been held at Minsk airport for 10 hours

Martin Uggla has been detained as he entered Belarus today.

The chairman of the Swedish Östgruppen human rights organization has been held at Minsk airport for over 10 hours already. Martin Uggla has not been admitted to Belarus, because he is on the least of unwanted people. It is yet unknown for how long the human rights activist will stay at the airports transit department, Radio Svaboda reports.

I arrived at 12:40 and since then I have been waiting for several hours. They are now deciding on how to proceed with deportation, as I understand it. It seems to me that nothing has been decided yet, - Martin Uggla said. The thing is that the next flight to Stockholm is only in two days. I was suggested to buy a ticket to Kyiv. I do not think I need to go to Kyiv. I think, this is their responsibility to arrange for the deportation. Apart from that, here I do not have the possibility to see the flight schedule. That is why I am waiting. The officials are, apparently, waiting for and order from the above on how to resolve the situation. I am, of course, ready to go home, since they do not let me in Belarus. But I think it is their responsibility to arrange for that in some way.

The human rights activist reported that there are people together with him, who were also not let to enter the country. However, he did not know the reason for their non-admission.

It is a fairly large room, - he says. There are several more people here, who are also waiting, who also have not been let in for some reason. There is a couch, where one may sit, a toilet. They brought sandwiches and water. Apart from that there is nothing here. There is a TV-set, but it is off. It is quite a serious sad room, but the conditions are acceptable.

Martin Uggla was going to attend a Swedish hockey team world championship game.

Yes, I have the ticket to the hockey game, the Swedish team is also playing, - the human rights activist says. I have a ticket for the game on Saturday. I also wanted to use the opportunity to visit Belarus, since I have not been here for 8 years, because I was denied a visa. When they promised that the championship would allow for a visa-free entrance, I decided to go and see how real this promise was. It turns out in the end that it is not as good as promised. Obviously, they do not want to see people here, who are ready to criticize the authorities for human rights violations. We have already seen in the recent days the escalation of this, how activists get detained. This is also a game, so foreigners do not get information from Belarusian activists. They also want for foreign human rights activists and other people, who are well aware of the situation in the country, could not come and contribute to disseminating the information about the situation in the country.

The human rights activist criticizes the mass arrests that have taken place in Belarus on the eve of the tournament.

What is happening now will actually spoil the countrys reputation and image. At the same time the purpose of holding an Ice Hockey World Championship is to improve the image of the country and authorities. That is why, of course, it is bad what is happening to me now. And what has happened to the activists is much worse, that many people get arrested before the championship. It is important that the information reached people abroad. I am in constant contact with Swedish colleagues and journalists and I know that they speak a lot about this in Sweden. This, of course, affects the image of the Belarusian authorities.

We would remind that within the recent two weeks police detained about 20 opposition activists. Human rights activists link the arrests to the Ice Hockey World Championship being held in Minsk.


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