Alena Tankachova was denied reduction of the Belarus entry ban period

According to the court decision, Alena Tankachova will not be able to return to Belarus until February 2018. The Ministry of Internal Affairs refused to reduce this period without explanation. The human rights defender insists that her case is politically motivated.

We remind that the formal reason for the deportation of Alena Tankachova, who has Russian citizenship, was that within a year she committed five law violations. These were traffic violations, connected to minor speeding (10-20 km/h), but law enforcement authorities motivated their decision by the interests of “public order”.

At the same time, speeding is not considered by the Belarusian legislation as a threat to public order. In addition, the court case contains pictures, which show only the rear license plate, so it is impossible to assert that in all cases the human rights defender was driving the car herself.

Tankachova, being a citizen of the Russian Federation, has lived in Belarus for more than 20 years. She never had any serious problems with the law. That is why according to lawers, who analysed the case, the expulsion is excessive interference in her private and family life, taking into account the insignificance of the offence.

According to the opinion of the human rights activist and her colleagues, the real reason for the expulsion were her professional activities.Since 1996 Alena Tankachova was engaged in protection of human rights. “The authorities twice eliminated human rights organisations, founded by her, – says the website of the Legal Transformation Centre, which is headed by Tankachova. – Also she is under pressure due to her work on the collection and evaluation of the information about arrests and trials of participants of the events on 19 December 2010 in Minsk.”

The position of the Ministry of Internal Affairs: to reduce the duration of the ban is our right, but not the obligation

The human rights activist left Belarus in February 2015. She hoped that the government will reconsider its decision and duration of the ban to enter the country will be reduced. However, the Ministry of Internal Affairs found no grounds for this. “The law provides the Ministry of Internal Affairs with the right, but not the obligation to reduce the period of prohibition to enter the Republic of Belarus for a foreign citizen”, – says the official response, received by Tankachova.

The Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs refused to comment on the situation. Press service of the Ministry is not available by the phone. “I know that some citizens, who were exiled from Belarus at the same time as me, have already received notice that the period of the ban was reduced for them, – said the human rights defender. – And this is despite the fact that these citizens had a criminal record, as well as a range of violations connected to entering the country. It proves that my expulsion is politically motivated.”

According to Alena, there are two options in this case. The first is to send every month to the Ministry requests for reduction of the period of ban on entry and to expect that there will be a decision in her favor. The second is just to wait for the expiration of the ban.”In this case, it makes no sense to go to court, because they won’t investigate the content of the denial”, – thinks Alena Tankachova.

She also notes that the question of her deportation is on the list of closed dialogue between Belarus and the EU. But our authorities are in no hurry to cross it out. “I want to draw attention to the positive development – says Tankachova. – The other day I was elected as a chairwoman of the Human Rights Working Group in the framework of the National Platform. This indicates a high trust to me from the side of the civil society, as well as solidarity among colleagues. I continue to work, despite the ban to stay in Belarus.”

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