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Belarus asks Lithuania for legal assistance regarding deserted soldier

JAV kariai
„Reuters“/„Scanpix“ nuotr. / .
Šaltinis: BNS

Belarus has sent several requests to Lithuania for legal assistance regarding Belarusian soldier Stepan Zahkarchenko who deserted to Lithuania last year, after refusing to sign a pledge to shoot at civilian protesters.

"Several requests for legal assistance have been received, including one back in 2011," Rita Stundienė, spokeswoman for the Prosecutor General's Office, told BNS. She refused to elaborate saying that "these are documents meant for internal use of law enforcement institutions."

Belarusian news website Belaruskiy Partizan reports that junior sergeant Zahkarchenko, 22, who deserted last year, is awaiting extradition. He said in an interview with the website that he deserted after he refused to sign a written promise to shoot civilians if needed, but Lithuania rejected his asylum request.

Zahkarchenko crossed the Lithuanian-Belarusian border illegally in July 2011.

The soldier claimed he had been subjected to violence in the army but his patience ran out after he was asked to sign a pledge to shoot civilians if needed. "They summoned sergeants from the intelligence battalion and gave a paper saying that if the interior system forces fail to clamp down on protesters, we commit ourselves to execute any presidential order and we'll shoot the country's residents if they pose threat to Belarus' constitutional order," Zahkarchenko told the website.

Silent protests against authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko were being staged in Belarus at the time.

The Belarusian soldier said he refused to sign the paper and left his unit in Minsk on 27 July 2011. Zahkarchenko said he crossed the border and arrived in Vilnius where he approached police and told them his story.

"I just approached police and said "Help me, I am from Belarus. I need help." They took me to a police station and asked there if I wanted to request political asylum. I didn’t know then exactly what it was. I wrote a political asylum request and related my story. Later on, I told it several migration officers," Zahkarchenko said.

He said he had been denied political asylum in Lithuania by the country's Migration Department and was currently awaiting extradition.

Zahkarchenko is convinced he will be sentenced to prison in his country.

Naujienų agentūros BNS informaciją atgaminti visuomenės informavimo priemonėse bei interneto tinklalapiuose be raštiško UAB „BNS“ sutikimo draudžiama.
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