Activist facing execution for supporting anti-war conscripts in Belarus
A peace activist nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the International Peace Bureau is under threat of deportation by NATO member Lithuania to Russia-allied Belarus, where she could face execution.
Belarusian peace builder and human rights defender Olga Karatch (Volha Karach), has been fighting for human rights in Belarus for years, including the right to conscientious objection to military service, and is therefore persecuted and faces capital punishment in her country of origin, where she has been labelled a ‘terrorist’ by the regime.
On 18 August 2023, Lithuania denied her political asylum, calling Olga Karatch a ‘person who represents a threat to the national security of the Republic of Lithuania’.
She was however granted a one-year temporary residence in the country, probably due to international letters of concerns that some politicians and heads of foundations had written to the authorities and to Lithuanian Ambassadors in different countries. But this status does not give her any safety regarding her status – authorities could at any time renege this decision and decide to deport her.
An international petition to protect Olga Karatch and people who refuse military service in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine has been launched by a coalition of groups.
- Read “international campaign protection and asylum for human rights defender olga karatch #protection4olga” by Redazione Italia, published August 23 2023 by Pressenza
(Cover: Olga Karatch, right, in Milan together with Katya (Ukraine) and Darya (Russia) during the tour in Italy of the Obiezione alla guerra (Objection to War) Campaign. Image by Rete Pace e Disarmo.)