Natalia Radzina, who escaped Belarus in March, after being held under house arrest and charged with rioting, revealed her current whereabouts. The Charter97 journalist was facing trial for participating in the December 19th demonstration against election fraud and sentenced to a house arrest in Kobryn, where her parents live.
During her time under house arrest, local police officers would take Radzima for interrogation every time she published an article critical of the regime. After she received a phone call from a detective, summoning for an investigation in Minsk, she decided within seconds to escape Belarus.
– When a detective called and told me about interrogation in Minsk, I did not hesitate for more than a minute. This was my chance to leave Kobryn. – she said.
The journalist got on a train to Minsk on March 30th, but never made it to the capital. She got out on a train station in Luniets. There, she was met by friends who drove her to Moscow.
Radzina added that due to a lack of border control between Russia and Belarus, staying in Moscow was unsafe. In the past, Belarusian special forces have kidnapped from the Russian capital an anarchist activist Ihar Alienievich, who was than sentenced to 8 years in prison.
The journalist also informed that after arriving to Moscow she asked the local UNHCR chapter to be transferred to a third country. At the beginning, the asylum was offered by Netherlands. On July 28th, Radzina flew to Amsterdam, but than decided to settle in Lithuania.
„I am really grateful to the Netherlands for their help, however after three days [in Amsterdam], I decided to move to Lithuania. After the [Belarusian] presidential election, our website had been registered in Lithuania, this is where our team works now and only there I can fulfill my duties as an editor. On August 4th, I asked for a political asylum in Lithuania“ – informed the journalist.
Charter97.org is a main opposition information website in Belarus. In September of 2010, Alekh Babin – one of the founders of the website, died in mysterious circumstances. According to Belarusian investigators, the journalist committed a suicide, but his friends and family do not believe it.