Russian Court Orders Extradition Of Belarusian Activist To Minsk

A Russian court has ordered a Belarusian man extradited to Minsk, where he faces charges of participating in protests against Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Vadzim Duboyski’s sister told RFE/RL that the Belgorod regional court on September 9 rejected his appeal against the extradition order by the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office.

According to Duboyski’s sister, his defense lawyer plans to appeal the decision to a higher court in Moscow.

The lawyer will also ask the European Court of Human Rights to block the extradition, on the grounds that he will face torture if he is sent to Belarus, she said.

Duboyski, a 31-year-old guitar player of a hardcore punk group, was arrested in the western Belarusian city of Brest in August 2020 amid unprecedented mass demonstrations demanding Lukashenka’s resignation.

The protests erupted after a presidential election that Lukashenka claimed he won, but many in Belarus have said was rigged.

Duboyski and several other activists were held in a garage area in Brest for three days, during which he and others were viciously beaten and later forced to sign a paper saying that they did not have any complaints, according to relatives.

Crisis In Belarus

Read our ongoing coverage as Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka ramps up pressure on NGOs and independent media as part of a brutal crackdown against protesters and the opposition following an August 2020 election widely considered fraudulent.

Physicians who examined him later confirmed that he was beaten while in police custody.

He was released after a week, on condition that he not leave Brest, but he fled to Russia in mid-October.

Russian border guards detained him in Belgorod in April this year for allegedly crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border illegally.

He may face up to eight years in prison if convicted in Belarus.

Mass protests against Lukashenka were met with a brutal crackdown, and the detention of tens of thousands of people. Much of the opposition leadership has been jailed or forced into exile.

Several protesters have been killed and thousands arrested during mass demonstrations demanding Lukashenka’s resignation. There have also been credible reports of torture in the crackdown.

Belarusian authorities have also shut down several nongovernmental organizations and media outlets.