After spending the night in custody, he was ordered to leve Belarus and banned from entering the country for an indefinite period.

Writer Serhiy Zhadan repeated what Ukrainian journalist Vitaly Sizov had faced two weeks ago when he was detained in Belarus. The writer, who arrived in Minsk for a book expo and literary festival, wrote about the incident on his Facebook page.

Zhadan says he was detained by a police patrol in his hotel room at around 2am. He was taken to a police station without giving any reasons. Zhadan figured out during the identification process that involved the KGB and other law-enforcement bodies that he was banned from visiting Russia for alleged involvement in terrorist activities. Serhiy Zhadan participated in rallies in Kharkiv during the Dignity Revolution, helped volunteers during and after the revolution.

Belarusian law-enforcement officers explained to him Belarus and Russia are a union state with a single visa space, so the travel ban imposed by Russia also extends to Minsk. Zhadan spent the night in a prison cell and was then questioned about his alleged terrorist activities. After that, Zhadan was ordered to leave Belarus before February 13. Belarusian authorities stamped his passport, banning him from entering Belarus for an indefinite period. Serhiy Zhadan calls on Ukraine’s MFA and the country’s embassy in Minsk to react to the arbitrary detention and holding him in custody without any reasons given.

UPD: After information about this incident got picked up by independent media and civil society activists in Belarus and Ukraine, as well as thanks to the involvement of Ukrainian diplomats and government officials, the ban has been cancelled and Serhiy Zhadan is again allowed to enter Belarus at any time. Apparently, the decision has been made at the highest level.

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