On August 24, 2023, the Belarusian refugee in Lithuania, Vitali Dvarashyn, won the second trial against the Migration Department of the Republic of Lithuania regarding the conditions of his stay. The court strongly recommended that the Migration Department reconsider its decision about placing Vitali to the refugee camp in Pabradė and advised Vitali to await the decision at his place of residence.
Soon, Vitali Dvarashyn was released from the camp for migrants. Besides that, he does not have to check in in the migration camp every three days anymore, as he was supposed to do earlier. In court, he was defended by Rytis Satkauskas, a good friend of Our House and a great lawyer specialized in migration disputes.
We’d like to remind, that as far back as in 1990, having graduated from a military school, Vitali Dvarashyn started his military service. However, several years later he got disappointed with the army, decided to refuse taking up weapons and resigned on his own volition. Vitali left the army on July 15, 1998. Since then, he has conducted peaceful life without getting even near the army or any other enforcement structure.
In the year 2020 in Belarus, Vitali participated in the protests against the elections falsified by the criminal regime. Not once he engaged in polemics with the regime’s supporters on social media. Moreover, together with a group of people of similar views, Vitali many times blocked the passage of prison trucks in the streets of Vitebsk, in which enforcers transported unarmed demonstrators they had detained.
After that he had to run to Lithuania to avoid repressions. Until lately, Vitali had a residence permit of Lithuania and worked as a driver in the town of Mažeikiai. Vitali’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, Vitali was recognized as a person undesirable on the territory of Lithuania and banned from entering the European Union for the term of 5 years.
On June 11, 2023, the Lithuanian migration and border service officers tried to forcefully deport Vitali 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 Vitali for a political asylum in the territory of Lithuania.
On June 27, 2023, the Lithuanian court passed the judgment and ordered to return Vitali’s residence permit to him and to overturn the ban to enter the European Union. The arguments of the migration service that Vitali allegedly represents a “threat to the national security of Lithuania” were found unconvincing by the court.
On June 8, 2023, the Lithuanian court took the side of Vitali 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. However, that was not the end of the story yet.
“The courts do not like that the Migration Department and the State Security Department are taking attempts to impose their opinion and their view of the situation regardless of what the law is saying”, Vitali Dvarashyn says. “It is their incorrect actions and disproportionate ambitions that helped me win this proceeding in addition to the fact that there is one more court victory behind me.”
Now, on September 6, another court proceeding is awaiting for Vitali, this time on the appeal of the Migration Department submitted against the first instance decision that overturned the annulment of his residence permit. It is going to be the second trial: the first one was won by Vitali on July 27, when the court ordered to give him back his residence permit, overturned the ban to enter the European Union and announced the decision of the migration officials to recognize him as a “threat to the national security of Lithuania” unsubstantiated.
Nevertheless, the Lithuanian Migration and the State Security Department of Lithuania filed an appeal of the Lithuanian court of first instance’s judgment and is requesting to uphold their decision on the Belarusian conscientious objector, Vitali Dvarashyn.
Let’s wish Vitali good luck in his legal battles!