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Chief of Association of Journalists falls under foreign travel ban

March 15, 2012, 14:11 UTC+3

Commenting on the incident, Litvina said that by ironic coincidence the incident took place when Belarus is marking Day of Constitution

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MINSK, March 15 (Itar-Tass) — Chairperson of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Zhanna Litvina failed to go aboard a scheduled flight to Warsaw on Thursday. When she was going through border guard control the border guards told her that she was temporarily under a foreign travel ban and stamped "no-exit" in her passport.

Commenting on the incident, Litvina said that "by ironic coincidence the incident took place when Belarus is marking Day of Constitution, which guarantees freedom of movement to its citizens. " A list of people under foreign travel ban is being enlarged, and the conflict is getting worse. The most important thing now is to find out who makes such lists and what reasons are behind," Litvina said.

Early in March a number of Belarusian non-state media outlets reported that the authorities had allegedly made a secret list of persons numbering around 100 names who fall under the no-exit ban. The people on the list had allegedly urged the European Union to tighten the existing sanctions and impose even more sanctions against Belarus.

The authorities have not made a clear-cut answer yet whether the secret list exists. In reality, the existence of the foreign travel ban was confirmed in a number of incidents when journalists of the opposition media outlets and a number of human rights activists were not allowed to leave the territory of Belarus.

The recent examples are Mikhail Yanchuk - a journalist of Belsat channel which broadcasts to Belarus from Poland, Andrei Dynko - Editor-in-Chief of Nasha Niva opposition newspaper, human rights activists Oleg Gulak and Valentine Stephanovich, leaders of the opposition United Civil Party Anatoly Lebedko and Alexander Dobrovolsky, Chairman of the left- wing opposition party "Just World" Sergei Kalyakin.

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