Belarus plans law to revoke citizenship of emigre opponents, minister says

Alexander Lukashenko

© APA | Alexander Lukashenko

# 06 September 2022 18:36 (UTC +04:00)

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko's government is drawing up legislation that would allow it to revoke the citizenship of emigre political opponents who are involved in "extremist" activity, the interior minister said on Tuesday, APA reports citing Reuters.

Tens of thousands of Belarusians left the ex-Soviet republic of 9.2 million fearing prosecution amid a sweeping crackdown that snuffed out vast anti-government protests which erupted in the summer of 2020 during a presidential election.

Interior Minister Ivan Kubrakov outlined a mechanism on Tuesday that would strip people living abroad of their citizenship if they are ruled to have hurt national interests or to be engaged in "extremism", the BelTa agency reported.

"We have proposed to revoke the citizenship... of such people, as those people continue illegal activities while already outside the borders of the Republic of Belarus," Kubrakov said.

He said that the punishment would be handed by a Belarusian court ruling against the individual in absentia. That person would then be banned from entering Belarus for 30 years.

Belarusian authorities have declared an array of opposition politicians "terrorists", including exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

Political and economic analytical institutes based outside Belarus estimate from 100,000 to 300,000 people who have left Belarus for political reasons since 2020.