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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

A mother's plea for her Belarusian activist son

Duration: 02:43s 0 shares 1 views
A mother's plea for her Belarusian activist son
A mother's plea for her Belarusian activist son

Yulia Kazimirova's son left Belarus for Russia last September to sit out a crackdown on anti-government protests.

Now, Russia plans to extradite the 21-year-old back to Belarus.

Olivia Chan reports.

Yulia Kazimirova is the mother of a Belarus activist, and she's very worried for her son.

He fled the country into Russia, but is facing extradition back to Belarus on charges that he took part in "mass unrest" during the anti-government protests last summer.

At the time, according to his lawyer, he was detained by Belarus authorities and beaten in custody.

Now his mother says she only found out he had been charged with a crime in Belarus when he was arrested in Russia in January.

"They didn't allow him to communicate with the outer world, nothing.

For 10 days.

I was about to lose my mind.

Later, when I've got to know that he has been detained, I have learned it from the guys, they told me - I felt relieved a bit, at least he is alive, it is the most important thing." Andrei Kazimirov is accused of helping to erect a barricade and throwing stones during a protest, which his lawyer denies.

The Moscow City Court approved the handover last month.

The lawyer, Illarion Vasilyev, says that Kazimirov was mistreated by Belarus authorities but then freed after Kazimirov signed a document saying he had no complaints.

The local police station declined to comment on the allegations and Reuters cannot verify his story.

Now both the lawyer and mother say they plan to ask the European Court of Human Rights to intervene.

"My only hope is on the ECHR - that they won't let an unfair decision happen.

Because if he is back here (in Belarus)... his case is one of the highest-profile and they will get back at him "Belarusian authorities often demand their citizens from the Russian territory, and the Russian Federation tracks them and extradites them very fast and efficient.

The same concerns apply to the participants of the Belarus protests." Kazimirov fled Belarus for Russia last September to sit out a crackdown on the anti-government protests and applied for asylum in March but was rejected.

Russia and Belarus are formally united in "a union state" and Russia has said it does not interfere in Belarus's domestic affairs.

Reuters could not establish how many Belarusian protesters are hiding in Russia.