Updated at 14:58,21-10-2016

Prominent Journalist Stripped of Belarusian Citizenship

31-03-2010, 16:53

Pavel Sharamet, a prominent journalist and outspoken critic of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, has been stripped of his Belarusian citizenship.

As Mr. Sharamet told BelaPAN, a notice from the Belarusian embassy in Moscow said that the reason for the move was his earlier acquisition of Russian nationality.

"They suggested that I come to the embassy, hand in my passport, receive a certificate of the withdrawal of my Belarusian citizenship and pay a ?7 fee for this certificate," he said.

Mr. Sharamet, who has lived in Russia for many years, said that he was trying to learn which government agency had made the decision.

"Former Interior Minister Uladzimir Navumaw said that such issues were dealt with by the interior ministry. Legal experts told me that a decision on the withdrawal of citizenship is made by the president. According to legal experts, this decision can be made only if a person takes a civil service or military job in another state or joins another state's security services. I have worked as a correspondent of the ORT channel throughout my stay in Russia," he said.

Mr. Sharamet obtained Russian nationality 10 years ago.

A law enacted in 2002 allows Belarusians to become a citizen of another country while keeping their original nationality. However, the Belarusian government does not formally recognize a Belarusian’s second citizenship.

The journalist said that he would not appeal the citizenship withdrawal or visit the embassy to receive the certificate.

In 1997, Mr. Sharamet was arrested while preparing a report on security gaps along Belarus' Lithuanian border and spent several months in prison. He headed ORT's Minsk bureau at the time.

The reporter, who moved to Moscow shortly after his release from prison, was beaten up by who appeared to be plainclothes policemen and jailed during his visits to Minsk in 2004 and 2006.

Mr. Sharamet co-wrote The Accidental President, an unflattering account of Mr. Lukashenka's life which is banned in Belarus.