Minsk, September 15, Interfax - The passport of head of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz was invalidated as a result of a check of his Belarusian citizenship, however, he remains a citizen of Belarus, head of the Belarusian Interior Ministry's Naturalization and Immigration Department Alexey Begun said.
"He hasn't been stripped of citizenship, because that would require a relevant conclusion. It's just that the Interior Ministry is verifying that he is a citizen of the Republic of Belarus along with the documents provided by him in the course of the naturalization procedure," Begun told the Tut.by website.
More than a thousand checks of Belarusian citizens are held each year, Begun said. The check into Kondrusiewicz began before his departure to Poland, and the subsequent events are a mere coincidence, he said.
"This is a mere coincidence. The procedure was launched a bit earlier (the sending of relevant enquiries, etc.), and he left during that period. It would be better for us to have him here," Begun said.
Every reason for invalidating a passport is specified in the regulations on identification documents: for instance, this can be done if the passport is issued illegally, if the holder loses or is deprived of citizenship, and for other reasons.
Begun said they have received a relevant statement from Kondrusiewicz [for clarifying the situation], and a detailed response will be given.
"The Interior Ministry has received a statement from Kondrusiewicz, and it is being processed. Soon enough, we will inform the applicant in detail about every nuance of the relevant procedure," Begun said.
Head of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus Archbishop Kondrusiewicz was not allowed to cross into Belarus from Poland on August 31 without explanation.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that Kondrusiewicz was denied entry to Belarus as "he had received an assignment in Poland."
The Conference of Catholic Bishops said later that the ban on the return of Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, a citizen of Belarus, contravenes the current legislation.