Belarusian Ivan Strashkevich served as a border guard in Belarus, but witnessing the brutality of the Lukashenko regime during the suppression of peaceful protests in 2020, he refused to continue his service and left the army, as he did not want to be associated with the military structures.
As repression began, he left for Poland and later relocated to Lithuania on a work visa, as Ivan’s mother is Lithuanian and was born and raised there. Ivan decided to move to Lithuania because it is his mother’s homeland.
On June 5, 2023, Lithuanian migration authorities refused to extend his work visa based on his previous military service, despite his active anti-war and anti-regime activism. They also imposed a 60-month ban on his entry into the European Union and Lithuania.
On June 6, 2023, Ivan applied for political asylum and was scheduled for an interview on June 14, 2023. However, during the interview on June 14, 2023, migration authorities detained him and forcibly transferred him to a refugee camp, where on June 16, a court decided to detain him for one month.
At the moment, Ivan is in the refugee camp in Pabradė. His laptop and phone were confiscated, and he is only allowed to use the phone for 30 minutes per day. He is staying in a room with barred windows, which is locked, and he doesn’t even have the opportunity to file an appeal because he lacks a laptop, phone, and practically any means of communication with the outside world.
He is being held in detention at a Lithuanian refugee camp, despite having a valid residence permit in Poland that has not been revoked.
We kindly request solidarity with Ivan Strashkevich, a Belarusian conscientious objector, and assistance in advocating for his release!