Report: Belarus Bars Chechen Woman From Fleeing To Norway

The independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reports that Belarusian authorities have detained a woman from Russia's Chechnya region who was attempting to flee to Norway after receiving threats, and handed her over to a man who claimed to be her father.

According to Novaya Gazeta, Luiza Dudurkayeva fled Chechnya in June after she was threatened when a photograph of her was posted on a social-media account that criticized Chechen women and girls for refraining from wearing traditional Islamic clothing.

Russian human rights activists helped Dudurkayeva, 22, obtain a Norwegian refugee visa in late August, the report said.

On September 3, it said, Russian authorities stopped Dudurkayeva at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow and told her that her relatives had filed a request to find her, and then took her picture and let her board a flight to Belarus.

On September 4, Dudurkayeva, who had a ticket to Helsinki, Finland, was detained by Belarusian authorities at the Minsk airport, Novaya Gazeta reported. It said a lawyer accompanying her was barred from a room where she was taken by Belarusian authorities.

Dudurkayeva was held behind closed doors for about an hour and came out in tears, accompanied by a man who told the lawyer that he was her father. The two left the airport.

Documents confirming her refugee status issued by Norwegian authorities remained in Dudurkayeva's possession, the newspaper said.

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's government has repeatedly handed fleeing Russians over to Russian authorities despite concerns for their rights and safety.

Belarusian authorities extradited a Russian opposition activist, Vladimir Yegorov, to Russia in late July.

In June, Belarusian authorities detained a Chechen whistle-blower, Murad Amriyev, and extradited him to Russia despite widespread fears that he could face torture or abuse at the hands of the Kremlin-backed authorities in Chechnya.

Officials in Chechnya later said the charges against Amriyev, whose plight was the focus of concerned statements from the United States and other countries, had been dropped.