US State Department Refuses Visa to Mikalai Charhiniets, deputy of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus
The State Department of the United States of America refused to issue visa to the deputy of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus Mikalai Charhiniets who was going to take part in the session of the UN General Assembly. He believes the State Department didn’t issue the visa to him because a year ago, when he came to the UN session, he also monitored the presidential election in the US, which was treated as contradiction to the official aim of his visit and explained as delusion of the local authorities.
Mr. Charhiniets doesn’t consider it as a violation. He told RFE/RL the following about his participation in the monitoring of the presidential election in the US in November 2004:
-- I participated as official member of the OSCE delegation on election monitoring. This monitoring was officially coordinated with the US State Department. It selected the circuit where I was to observe and I came there as official representative of the OSCE on invitation of the State Department. I didn’t exceed the limits of monitoring.
Charhiniets believes the refusal to issue the visa to him was the revenge of the American authorities for his criticism of the electoral system of the US pronounced at the session of the UN General Assembly and elsewhere. At the UN he also spoke against the economical blockade of Cuba and reproved the critical remarks concerning human rights problems in Belarus. On his return from the US Mr. Charhiniets continued criticizing the American electoral system and expressed his support to the Washington citizens who allegedly applied to him while fighting for their electoral rights.
-- So, the capital’s citizens are deprived of the right to elect their president. I received application from a public organization right at the major’s office of Washington, in presence of the administration and officials of this organization. Tell me, what I am to blame in? – said Charhiniets.
He didn’t specify, however, what was the public organization from Washington that asked for his support. He doesn’t consider the refusal of visa a tragedy:
-- It again demonstrates the approach of the US authorities to democracy, -- he stated.
The US Embassy in Belarus gives no comments concerning the latest events, referring to the fact Embassies don’t have to comment visa issues.