Activists are barred from foreign travel


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The Independent Online

Belarus's government has cracked down on dissent by barring its critics from foreign trips, say activists.

Zhanna Litvina, the head of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, a media freedom watchdog, said authorities banned her from leaving for Warsaw on Thursday. "I felt like a North Korean citizen in the centre of Europe," she said.

Critics of President Alexander Lukashenko say they have been denied permission to go abroad. The move came on the same day Lukashenko denied clemency to two men sentenced to death in a dubious trial for the bombing of the Minsk metro last April.

Officials have refused to comment on reports the government has compiled a list of journalists and opposition activists forbidden to leave the nation.