His lawyer told BuzzFeed News that Vitali Shkliarov, a dual US-Belarusian citizen and political strategist for the US presidential candidate, was detained by Belarusian authorities in July. He has left Belarus.
Lawyer Anton Gashinsky said Shkrarov is flying to Washington, where he will undergo a comprehensive medical examination. Gasinski said Tuesday’s departure was largely due to the phone call between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and longtime Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Saturday.
Gashinsky told BuzzFeed News: “The fact that the request for permission to leave is of course approved is the result of Pompeo̵
Skliarov, who participated in the presidential campaigns of Senator Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama, was suspected of organizing the illegal opposition of Lukashenko in Belarus Rally and was arrested and imprisoned in late July. The country’s authoritarian leader is known as “the last dictator of Europe”. He has served as president for 26 years and won the disputed election in August. Shkliarov denied the allegations.
When Shkliarov started showing symptoms of illness including fever, Shkliarov was sentenced to jail and refused treatment or tested for coronavirus. His wife, Heather Shkliarov, was a US diplomatic based in Kiev. Official, told BuzzFeed News in a statement sent through lawyers last month. . She said he endured terrible conditions in prison. In one case, he said he was squeezed into a damp basement, which was crowded with mold and cockroaches.
Skliarov was released from prison this month and ordered the continuation of house arrest pending the outcome of the investigation and possible trial. He faces up to three years in prison.
In a statement provided to BuzzFeed News through a lawyer last month, Heather Shkliarov pleaded with Lukashenko to release her husband. She said that she was increasingly worried about her husband’s physical and mental health, who later tested positive for the coronavirus.
Gasinski welcomed Belarus’s decision to allow Shkrarov to leave the country, but he said that his client’s troubles are far from over.
He said: “Actually, nothing has changed.”
“The investigation has not been completed and the criminal case has not yet been completed. We filed a petition to leave, which is very satisfying, so Vitaly will now visit his family and improve his health after suffering from the coronavirus infection,” Gasinski said .
Since August 9th, Belarus has been in a state of political turmoil. After the fiercely contested presidential election, Belarus expressed opposition to the country’s pro-democrats as well as the United States and the European Union.
Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus with an iron fist since 1994, claimed to have won more than 80% of the vote, while his main opponent, political novice Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, won more than 10% of the vote.
Tikhanovskaya was forced into exile in Lithuania during the protests that broke out after the election, and later told BuzzFeed News that she was the real winner and president of Belarus.
Since then, Tikhanovskaya supporters have led the largest street protests in the history of the independence of the former Soviet Union. Since election night, thousands of demonstrators have poured into streets and squares across the country. The police used brutal violence to suppress them several times. Some protesters claimed to have used torture during their detention to discourage them from taking to the streets again.
Earlier this month, the United States announced sanctions on 25 Belarusians, saying they “involved in 2020 election forgery and human rights violations.”