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26 Jan, 2021 12:19

Navalny-linked Belarusian lawyer claims he was deported to his homeland overnight in handcuffs and with bag over head

Navalny-linked Belarusian lawyer claims he was deported to his homeland overnight in handcuffs and with bag over head

A Belarusian lawyer who works for opposition figure Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation says he was forcibly deported from Russia on Sunday, three days after receiving a notice that he had to leave.

Vladlen Los was arrested on Thursday and told he had to exit the country by January 25 and not return for three years. He was released from jail on Sunday and, then, according to the lawyer, he was immediately detained by unidentified people in civilian clothes.

“They handcuffed me and put a bag over my head. I was loaded into a minibus, and we drove for about 10 hours towards Belarus,” he said, in a video on Navalny’s YouTube channel. “After midnight, when the deadline for my voluntary departure from Russia expired, I was informed I had violated this deadline, and then I was deported.” His ban from entering the country was subsequently increased to five years.

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According to Los, he was met by a Belarusian policeman, who escorted him to the airport. “I’m in a safe place now,” he explained, without saying where he was.

Los was one of a handful of Navalny-linked figures to be arrested last week, prior to nationwide protests on January 23. As well as Los, Lyubov Sobol, Kira Yarmysh, and Giorgi Alburov were also detained, after calling for Russians to take to the streets in support of the opposition figure. On the day of the demonstrations themselves, more than 3,500 people were detained, according to police-monitoring outfit OVD-Info, which has received Western funding in the past.

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