Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said “hell will freeze over” before the country would “begin to consider” Belarus’ request to extradite Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the opposition frontrunner against Alexander Lukashenko in the August 9 election last year.
“Lithuania has been and will continue to be a concrete wall, where all democratic forces will find shelter from persecution by [different] regimes,” Landsbergis said in a statement.
“Everyone who has found refuge in Lithuania can feel safe that they wll not be handed over,” he said, adding that “hell will freeze over [before] we would start considering your [Belarusian regime] requests”.
Earlier on Friday, the Belarusian state news agency BelTa reported that the country’s General Prosecutor’s Office sent a request to its Lithuanian counterpart asking to extradite Tikhonovskaya to “prosecute her for crimes against [...] public safety and the state”.
Lithuania's General Prosecutor’s Office told LRT.lt that it won’t comment on calls for legal assistance, therefore, it could not confirm whether they have received an extradition request from Belarus.
Tikhanovskaya was forced to flee to Lithuania shortly after the election amid threats to her safety. Protests against Alexander Lukashenko, who had declared victory in the election, continue.