What does Belarus-Georgia state security services cooperation agreement mean for asylum-seekers?
On August 4, 2021, a cooperation agreement between the state security services of Georgia and Belarus came into force, Belarusian reform.by has been reported, causing unrest within Georgian society.
“Don’t they know what Lukashenka’s KGB is? It tortures and kills his citizens. It hijacks planes of other countries and kidnaps dissident journalists from there. It creates conditions for thousands of Iraqi migrants to cross the border into Lithuania and destabilize the European Union. All this is done by the agency connected with the KGB of Russia”, Eto Buziashvili, a researcher of the Georgian organization Atlantic Council said on her social media.
The text of the agreement speaks of the exchange of information between the Georgian and Belarusian state security structures in such areas as crimes against state security, terrorism, and cyber terrorism, organized crime, illegal arms trafficking, corruption, disclosure of classified information, and others.
The new agreement also covers the holding of joint events and “mutual trips of representatives of the state security services to the territory of another state for a certain or indefinite period of time”.
In addition, the agreement implies the mutual transfer of the personal information of citizens.
“Do they understand what will happen when a Belarusian dissident journalist or activist will seek refuge in Georgia? If Russia asks Belarus for information about the citizens of Georgia, is it clear to everyone what will happen?”Buziashvili said.
According to the website reform.by, this agreement was signed five years ago, in 2016, but has not yet been ratified due to certain procedures.
The political party Dro (Vremya) protested against the agreement:
“The agreement not only legitimizes the horrific and illegal Lukashenka’s regime, which is responsible for the death, torture, and political imprisonment of thousands of people. This document threatens the lives of Belarusians seeking asylum in Georgia”.
“Every additional day this political force is in power poses a threat to the Georgian people. Changing government through elections is critical for Georgia’s future as a state”, the party said in a statement.
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Georgia cooperates with Belarusian KGB while Western countries impose sanctions against Minsk and EU did not recognize Lukashenko’s presidency
The US has already imposed sanctions against 43 Belarusian citizens, including high-ranking officials who “are responsible for undermining democracy in the country”.
The United Kingdom is also expanding the list of sanctions against Belarusian officials responsible for repression and human rights violations. These included judges, security officials, officials, and propagandists.
Mass protests against the Lukashenka regime have been going on in Belarus for over a year, after the presidential elections on August 9, 2020. During the protest dispersals, several protesters were killed, thousands of people were detained, many of them were subjected to torture and inhuman treatment.
Several opposition leaders were arrested. Others, including Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, whom opponents of the regime consider the elected president, were forced to flee the country.
Blogger and photographer Roman Protasevich, the founder of the popular opposition Telegram channel, was arrested in Belarus after an airplane on which Protasevich was flying from Greece to Lithuania was intercepted and forced to make an emergency landing at Minsk airport.
On August 9, the European Union announced the possibility of new sanctions against the leader of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. “The West considers Lukashenka to be an illegitimate leader. We call on him to end his violence against protesters, to start negotiations with the opposition, and to hold new independent presidential elections”, the EU said in a statement.