Andrius Sytas, Reuters, September 9, 2021
Lithuania on Thursday sent five Afghan migrants back to Belarus shortly after they had crossed the border despite the European Court of Human Rights earlier saying they should be allowed to stay.
The migrants had tried to enter Lithuania unsuccessfully at least 10 times since Aug. 29, their lawyer said. Their case had been brought to the European Court.
The Lithuanian border guard said the five had been detained and sent back into Belarus on Thursday before noon having just crossed over the border.
“We intend to not allow the illegal migrants into Lithuanian territory,” the Guard said in a statement.
More than 4,100 migrants from the Middle East and South Asia have entered Lithuania this year and the European Union has accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of sending them over its borders with EU nations in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the bloc on the Minsk government.
Lithuania has been pushing back migrants since early August and only a few dozen have been allowed in.
On Wednesday, the European Court of Human Rights said the Afghan migrants were vulnerable following the Taliban’s takeover of power in Kabul on Aug. 15 and were seeking international protection.