Belarus athlete Timanovskaya wants asylum in Europe: Asking IOC for help in Tokyo
Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
According to various reports, the Belarusian athlete Kristina Timanovskaya (Krystsina Tsimanouskaya) fears being sent back to Belarus. Thus, Timanovskaya asked Japanese police for help at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.
Belarus is under the perennial leadership of President Lukashenko. Last year, mass protests erupted concerning the threat to democracy and transparency under Lukashenko. Therefore, Japan needs to listen to the concerns of Tsimanouskaya.
Also, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) using an international refugee team, it is essential that the IOC also acts in the interest of Tsimanouskaya.
On a video posted on Telegram, the athlete says, “I am asking the IOC to get involved.”
She also said, “They are trying to get me out of the country without my permission.”
The BBC reports, “In a short statement the IOC said it had seen media reports about the sprinter and had asked Belarus’s National Olympic Committee for clarification.”
While the dispute emerged because of an athletic issue, the real picture concerns ongoing fear in Belarus because of the policies of Lukashenko. Thus, it is important that all diplomatic channels in Japan – and the IOC – work in tandem with the wishes of Tsimanouskaya.
TASS News reports, “She told Euroradio she wants to seek asylum in Europe. Apart from that, she asked help from the International Olympic Committee via social networks. She claimed she was subject to pressure to leave Japan without her consent.”
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