Belarusian sprinter refuses to leave Tokyo, says she was forced to airport

Krystsina Tsymanouskaya says she was told of order to 'remove' her after criticism of coaches.

Belarusian sprinter refuses to leave Tokyo, says she was forced to airport

Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya refused to board a plane leaving Tokyo on Sunday after saying she was forced to go to the airport by her national Olympic team following criticism of its coaching staff.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a tweet that it had spoken with Tsimanouskaya and that a Tokyo 2020 staff member is accompanying her at Haneda airport.

“She has told us that she feels safe,” the IOC said in one tweet. “The IOC and Tokyo 2020 will continue their conversations with Krystsina Tsymanouskaya and the authorities to determine the next steps in the upcoming days,” it said in another.

According to Reuters, the Belarusian Olympic Committee said in a statement that coaches had decided to withdraw Tsimanouskaya from the games based on doctors’ advice regarding her “emotional, psychological state.”

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has cracked down on dissenters following last year’s presidential election, which he claims to have won but which has been widely condemned as fraudulent.

In May, Belarusian authorities forced a Ryanair flight to divert to Minsk, where officials detained opposition activist and journalist Roman Protasevich and his partner, who had both been on board.

Lukashenko’s son, Viktor Lukashenko, is the president of the Belarus Olympic Committee.

The Belarus team’s decision to withdraw Tsimanouskaya came after she had complained on Instagram that she had been entered into a race on short notice as other teammates were found to be ineligible.

“Some of our girls did not fly here to compete in the 4x400m relay because they didn’t have enough doping tests,” Tsimanouskaya told Reuters.

“And the coach added me to the relay without my knowledge. I spoke about this publicly. The head coach came over to me and said there had been an order from above to remove me.”

The Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation, which works to support athletes targeted for their political views, said Tsimanouskaya plans to seek asylum in a European country and would start with Austria.

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša tweeted that she would be “welcome” in his country. Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek said Prague is “ready to help,” offering a visa for Tsimanouskaya to enter the country and apply for protected status.

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who fled to Lithuania after the election, said on Twitter she was “grateful” to the IOC for its “quick reaction to the situation with the Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsymanouskaya. She has a right to international protection & to continue participation in the @Olympics.” Tsikhanouskaya added that it would be “crucial” to investigate Belarus’ actions.

Source : Politico EU More   

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Poland attacks German justice system over fine for anti-gay article

Cologne court imposed penalty on Polish theologian for inciting hatred.

Poland attacks German justice system over fine for anti-gay article

Poland has accused Germany’s justice system of putting European standards at risk after a Cologne court fined a Polish theologian for an article describing gay people in the Catholic clergy as “parasites.”

The court imposed the €4,800 penalty on Dariusz Oko, a conservative theology professor based in Krakow, for inciting hatred through his article in a German magazine on alleged homosexual influence in the Vatican.

In comments to German news agency DPA published Sunday, Polish Deputy Justice Minister Marcin Romanowski said he saw “anti-freedom tendencies in the German legal protection system.”

“The imposition of penalties for scientific activities represents a threat to fundamental freedoms and European standards,” Romanowski said.

The clash over Oko’s broadside in the magazine Theologisches is inflaming a simmering culture war within both the Catholic church and the EU over values and liberal democratic institutions.

Poland itself has come under heavy fire from EU institutions and international experts for reforms widely seen as undermining judicial independence and the rule of law. Polish authorities have also faced international condemnation for anti-LGBTQ+ comments and declaring parts of the country to be zones free of “LGBTQ+ ideology.”

An architect of those LGBTQ+-free zones, the conservative Catholic legal institute Ordo Iuris, is also defending Oko in the German case. In a statement, Ordo Iuris said the article intended to “initiate an academic discussion.”

In Oko’s article published earlier this year, “On the Need to Limit Homosexual Cliques in the Church,” he also called gay clergymen a “cancerous ulcer” and characterized gay rights as “homo heresy.”

A Munich priest, Wolfgang F. Rothe, filed a legal complaint against Oko, leading to the court ruling. Rothe said there should be no place for such hate and incitement within the Catholic church, broadcaster ZDF reported. He said he had been at the center of a storm since filing the complaint, facing hostility and threats from Polish conservatives.

The Cologne district court confirmed the fine to the website Katholisch.de. A spokesperson for the court said an appeal had already been lodged, meaning the case will now likely be the subject of a trial.

Source : Politico EU More   

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