Migrants Say They Face Abuse on Both Sides of Belarus Border


SULAIMANIYA, Iraq — Before the Belarus police pushed Hajar, 37, throughout the border into Lithuania this week, they punched him within the head, he stated. But that was simply the beginning of his ordeal.

On the Lithuanian aspect, the police referred to as for a gaggle of commandos who he stated took him and his associates away and began hitting them with sticks and plastic cables and stunning them with stun weapons. In a video name from Minsk, he pulled up his shirt to indicate deep bruises on his aspect and again.

“They said ‘You don’t have the right to come here to our country,’” he stated, talking in Kurdish by means of an interpreter. “They said ‘You make our country dirty.’”

Hajar, an Iraqi Kurd who’s attempting desperately to get to the European Union, requested that his surname not be printed for worry of repercussions from Belarusian and Lithuanian authorities.

He stated the commandos, clad in black and sporting masks, took the migrants’ telephones and warned that that they had taken video of the Kurds, who would obtain a a lot worse beating in the event that they returned.

Hajar limped again throughout the border and made his method again to Minsk to are inclined to his wounds in a funds resort which he stated was charging migrants $100 an evening in alternate for not reporting them to the authorities for his or her expired visas.

Two days later, he stated, the Belarus police once more compelled them to go to the border however he was too afraid to cross.

Hajar, who stated he had spent $6,000 attending to Turkey after which Belarus, stated he was fleeing a tribal dispute in Iraq that put his life at risk. A single father, he hopes to get to Britain to earn cash to ship again to his 14-year-old son and his sick mom.

He stated he plans to attempt to cross the border once more.

“I just want to cross even if I lose my life,” he stated.

In the town of Sulaimaniya, within the Kurdistan area of Iraq, Reben Sirwan, a journalist, stated he too had gone to Belarus, the place he was shocked and crushed by Belarusian cops as they deported him final week.

“On the stairs of the plane they hit me and took my phone because I was doing live reports,” he stated.

Mr. Sirwan, 29, stated he had acquired threats over his work in Kurdistan, and deliberate to use for asylum in Belarus. But quite than hear his declare, the Belarusian authorities, he stated, put him on a airplane — to not Iraq however to Syria. In Syria, the police held him for 4 days earlier than letting him return to Iraq, he stated.

“Belarus, Poland and Lithuania are playing with people,” he stated. “They move them up, down, left and right. They hurt them, beat them, steal their phones and take their money.”

Sangar Khaleel and Barzan Jabar contributed reporting.