We are asking you to render help and send a letter of support for another conscientious objector from Belarus who is under a threat of a long-term of imprisonment in Belarus for his activities in support of Belarusian conscientious objectors.
Vitali Dvarashyn, born on August 12, 1969, graduated from Vasylkivsky Aviation and Technical Military School in 1990 and began his service in the army. However, later he got disappointed with it, decided to refuse take up weapons, resigned on his own volition and left the army on July 15, 1998. Since then, he has conducted peaceful life without getting near the army and any other enforcement structure.
In the year 2020 in Belarus, Vitaly participated in the actions of protest against the elections falsified by the criminal regime. On multiple occasions, besides other activities, he engaged in polemics with the regime’s supporters on social media. Together with a group of people of similar views, Vitaly many times blocked the streets of Vitebsk to obstruct the passage for prison trucks in which enforcers transported unarmed demonstrators they had detained.
When the war in Ukraine began, Vitaly became afraid of the possibility to be forcefully mobilized into the army of Belarus and sent to fight against Ukraine as he once was a serviceman. As fast as he could, on March 8, 2022, Vitaly left for Lithuania and has not returned to Belarus since then due to the risk to be forcefully taken to the army. Unfortunately, his fears are not groundless, as currently a verification of the population liable for military service is taking place in Belarus, the purpose of which is unclear. Besides that, several days later, the police operatives arrived at his registered address in Vitebsk with search and arrest warrants. As the police explained to his mother that a criminal case had been launched against Vitaly in the town of Baranavichy, because he had called the Belarusian enforcers “murderers and executioners” on Facebook.
Since then, fearing for his life and freedom, Vitaly has not returned to Belarus and has not seen his family. Another important threat that has kept him from returning to his motherland was the high probability to be forcefully mobilized into the army. Until lately, Vitaly had a residence permit of Lithuania and worked as a driver in the town of Mažeikiai. Vitaly’s residence permit was annulled on April 26, 2023, only on the grounds of his former service in the Belarusian army over 20 years ago. Also, on the grounds of his military service in the past, Vitaly was recognized as a person undesirable on the territory of Lithuania and banned from entering the European Union for the term of 5 years.
Vitaly filed an appeal to the Lithuanian court.
When Our House started the campaign “NO Means NO” to support the human right of Belarusian men not to take up arms, Vitaly started actively participating in it, including protest actions near the Embassy of Belarus, dedicated to the right of conscientious objection.
Videos and photographs with him participating in the actions on the International Conscientious Objection Day – May 15, 2023, and before that in the solidarity action of January 22, 2023, were published on Telegram channels “Olga Karach” and “Our House” in the post of May 16, 2023. Because of that, now Vitaly is under a threat of imprisonment of up to 7 years in a Belarusian jail, as his face has been shown on our Telegram channels.
On June 11, 2023, the Lithuanian migration and border service officers tried to forcefully deport Vitaly to Belarus, which for him would mean to be automatically arrested and imprisoned for his participation in the campaign “NO Means NO”.
On June 15, 2023, we prepared all the documents and applied together with Vitaly for a political asylum in Lithuania.
On June 27, 2023, the Lithuanian court passed the judgment to return Vitaly’s residence permit to him and to overturn the ban to enter the European Union. The arguments of the migration service that Vitaly allegedly represents a “threat to the national security of Lithuania” were found unconvincing by the court.
Also, on June 8, 2023, the Lithuanian court took the side of Vitaly and officially granted him permission to live outside the refugee camp while waiting for the decision and to move freely within the borders of the Republic of Lithuania.
Nevertheless, we are asking for your support and solidarity – to write a letter of support of Vitaly and his conscious position from the organization.
Mistakes made in early life under the influence of militarist propaganda, which is service in the army, cannot become a ground for deportation to Belarus, for a ban to enter the European Union, and for a refusal to issue a residence permit.
We should ensure that Belarusian men could have a chance to conduct a peaceful life without holding arms in their hands and not to be forcefully mobilized into the Belarusian army to conduct a warfare against Ukraine.
We kindly ask you to send a letter of support to the Lithuanian Migration at the email: [email protected], and a copy to the International Centre for Civil Initiatives Our House at the email: [email protected].