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Once deported rights defender Tonkacheva gets residence permit in Belarus

Elena Tonkacheva. Photo:

Elena Tonkacheva, chair of the Legal Transformations Center - Lawtrend NGO, has been granted a termporary residence permit. She can live in Belarus for one year, Lawtrend wrote on Facebook.

Tonkacheva is a Russian citizen who lived in Belarus for 30 years, had a job and a house and was involved in the human rights defense work. In November 2014, Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs ordered her to leave the country within 30 days and not to return in the course of the next three years. The reason was she had been booked for slight overspeeding. According to the law-enforcement, her actions "threated public order." Tonkacheva tried to appeal this decision and exausted all available legal remedies but to no avail. In February 2015, she left to live in Vilnius in order to be as close as possible to Belarus where her relatives and friends remained. Elena continued her human rights work. In February 2018, the entry ban expired.