Belarus slaps entry ban on Riigikogu deputy speaker

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Hanno Pevkur. Source: Vladislava Snurnikova/ERR

Hanno Pevkur, first deputy speaker of the Estonian parliament and president of the Estonian Volleyball Federation, was unable to travel to the Belarus capital Minsk to watch the Estonian women's volleyball team after it was revealed at the airport that Belarus has imposed an entry ban on the politician, Postimees reported.

"It must be acknowledged that the wish to be present and watch the volleyball women's national team play in Minsk ended before it could begin," Pevkur wrote on social media. "Namely, it turned out at the airport that the Belarusian state had imposed an entry ban on me, which I was not notified of, and because of which I was not allowed on the plane," he said. 

The Belarusian Volleyball Association sent an official invitation to Pevkur.

"In that invitation, there are all the references and plans confirmed also by the minister of sport," Pevkur (Reform) told Postimees.

Pevkur was assured that the ban on entry had been lifted in his case and that the border guard had also familiarized itself with the official invitation. However, this did not help and the president of the volleyball federation could not board the flight, Postimees wrote.

"When someone has been blacklisted, my logic says that the person should be informed about it," Pevkur said. 

"Tell me there's no connection between sport and politics. In the case of Belarus, there is, and how!" the first deputy speaker of the Estonian parliament said. 

Pevkur was also one of the members of the Riigikogu who in last August signed a statement in support of democracy in Belarus.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania imposed entry bans on almost 300 Belarusian officials who were involved in last year's presidential elections and violently suppressing protesters afterwards.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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