Tokyo (AP) – Belarusian Olympic sprinter Kristina Timanowskaja has received a humanitarian visa at the Polish embassy in Tokyo.
The athlete, who according to the opposition would be kidnapped from Japan by the authoritarian authorities in her country, appeared in the Polish representation in Tokyo on Monday. “Poland will do everything it can to help her continue her sports career,” Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz wrote on Twitter on Monday. Poland stands “for solidarity”, the top politician added.
In addition to Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia had also offered the 24-year-old asylum. Timanovskaya said in a video published by the Belarusian opposition athlete association Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation (BSSF) on Sunday that she had flown out of Japan against her will. The reason was public criticism of Belarusian sports officials.
The sprinter had refused the flight, turned to Japanese police and then spent the night at a hotel at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. According to the International Olympic Committee, she is in a “safe environment”.
Attempt to leave the country “by force”
The 24-year-old athlete said in a video published Sunday by the Belarusian opposition athlete association Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation (BSSF) that she was flown out of Japan against her will after publicly criticizing Belarusian sports officials. The BSSF spoke of an attempted “violent” exit.
Adams was unable to provide information on how the athlete left the Olympic village and who was with her. At the airport, she turned to the Japanese police. Representatives from the IOC and the Japanese OK had spoken to her “directly” that evening. “She has assured us that she feels safe and protected,” the IOC spokesman said.
Timanovskaya denies mental health problems
The Belarus Olympic Committee (NOK) had previously stated on Telegram that the athlete had been examined by a doctor and would not participate in further competitions because of her “emotional and psychological state”.
Timanovskaya described this on Instagram as a “lie”. She told the radio station Euroradio: “You just told me to pack my things and fly home.”
Poland has offered Timanovskaya a humanitarian visa on Sunday evening. His country stands ready to help, Przydacz wrote on Twitter. “She has the free choice to continue her sports career in Poland if she wants to,” the politician continued.
Federal government insists on basic rights
Meanwhile, the German government called on the authorities in Belarus to respect basic democratic rights. Deception, persecution and intimidation would be condemned in the strongest possible terms, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said in Berlin on Monday. Freedom of the press and freedom of expression were also fundamental rights. Belarus’ approach has been criticized repeatedly. “The EU has adopted a substantial package of sanctions over the continuing serious human rights violations in Belarus,” the spokeswoman said.