Vladimir Bazanov, a confidant of Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko and the head of the country’s Football Association (pictured), was detained by authorities in the Czech Republic on November 30 while in possession of a visa issued by Hungary.
But since Bazanov had been banned from several Schengen countries for his role in Belarus’s election fraud and subsequent violent repression of protests, the Czech Republic expelled him and his wife from the country.
Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has now acknowledged that the Bazanovs’ Schengen visas had been issued by Hungarian authorities, but says that it was issued on behalf of Switzerland in accordance with an agreement with the country, writes Szabad Európa.
The Foreign Ministry stated that the Bazanovs had obtained a ninety-day visa on May 21, which was “issued by the Hungarian consulate acting as a visa-issuing representative on behalf of Switzerland.” A “visa-issuing representative” means that, as some countries in the Schengen Convention do not have a sufficiently large representation in each country, it is often agreed with another EU Member State to process visa applications on their behalf.
Two such agreements currently exist between Switzerland and Hungary: Chisinau, Moldova, and Minsk, Belarus. According to an official Swiss information page, Switzerland has suspended the issuance of Hungarian-mediated visas in Minsk. Szabad Európa asked the Swiss embassy in Vienna if this was also the case in May, but the news site has not received an answer yet.
[Telex][Photo: Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation / Facebook]