Belarus bars ex-president from leaving country
(MINSK) - The first post-Soviet leader of Belarus who today is a prominent opposition member said Sunday he had been prevented from leaving the country in reprisal for new EU sanctions imposed on President Alexander Lukashenko's regime.
Stanislav Shushkevich said Belarus border guards had ordered him off the train at the ex-Soviet republic's border with Lithuania on Sunday and told him to seek an explanation for the decision from the government in Minsk.
"It looks like I have been added to the no-travel list," Shushkevich told AFP by telephone.
Several prominent journalists and opposition members have been barred from leaving the country in recent weeks.
Lukashenko's foes believe that his KGB security service has drawn up a special no-travel list in reprisal for the European Union's decision last month to pull its ambassadors from Minsk.
The diplomatic row broke out after an angry response from Minsk over the European Union's decision to impose new economic sanctions on top Belarus officials the bloc holds responsible for human rights abuses.
Shushkevich led Belarus from independence in 1991 until he was ousted from power in 1994. He has turned into a prominent opposition member in the past decade who lectures abroad to earn his income.
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