An attempt to silence minority rights defenders in the Baltics
On August 24, the secretary of our NGO, Aleksandrs Kuzmins LL.M., a citizen of Latvia, went to Klaipeda, Lithuania. He intended to represent our NGO at the international roundtable "Ethnic nationalism as a threat to peace and stability" on August 25-26 in Klaipeda.
After 5 p.m., on the Klaipeda bus station, Kuzmins was stopped by the Lithuanian Border Guard officers and informed that Lithuanian Migration Department has refused him entry to Lithuania until 20 August 2020. The section of the law referred to "national security threats" and 5 years is actually the maximum possible term for such prohibition for EU citizens. Aleksandrs Kuzmins was ordered to leave Lithuania by midnight or to be arrested.
Aleksandrs Kuzmins has a long record of human rights activism, including the case Petrova v. Latvia won before the ECtHR. Notably, he has never been convicted of any offence. On the contrary, Latvian police had been forced in 2013 to pay him compensation for illegal detention in 2010.
Two other Latvian participants of the conference, Josifs Korens and Aleksandrs Rzavins, were refused entry to Lithuania, too. The policies of Latvia and Lithuania in the issues of language rights and (non)-tackling hate speech are similar and possibly co-ordinated.