MINSK, 21 July (BelTA) – Belarus has not received an official response from Lithuania on the incident with Iraqi refugees, official representative of the Belarusian State Border Committee Anton Bychkovsky told BelTA.
“We have not received an official response from our Lithuanian colleagues regarding the incident with the Iraqi migrants who trespassed the Belarusian border on 18 July. Our interaction with Lithuania regarding these issues is far from constructive,” he noted.
BelTA reported earlier that the Belarusian border service detained three groups of illegal migrants, who had crossed the border from the side of Lithuania. Personnel of the border guard station Geraneny of the Lida border service unit detected a group of 14 Iraqi citizens in the morning on 18 July. Another seven exhausted foreigners, who claimed they were Iraqi citizens, were detained in the same area the following day. Five more people were found in the populated locality of Klevitsa, including a pregnant woman in a state of shock, who was immediately taken to hospital, two kids, and two men.
“The trespassers said they had been staying in a refugee camp in Lithuania. According to the Iraqi citizens, personnel of the Lithuanian border service had questioned them and had forced them to provide testimony and say they had bribed Belarusian border personnel for assistance with crossing the border. The refugees had not been fed, had not been allowed to drink, and had been beaten with batons, which is confirmed by multiple bruises and abrasions on their bodies. Right after the interrogation, the Iraqi citizens were transported to the Belarusian-Lithuanian border, were threatened with weapons and forced into Belarus' territory,” the State Border Committee said.
One of the people caught in the third group stated that the five people were Iraqi citizens. Armed people in camouflage uniforms had stopped them in Lithuania. The border trespassers gave them their passports, but those individuals only tore them up and threw them away. Then the Iraqi citizens were forced with the use of physical violence to leave Lithuania and enter Belarus.