Thailand Deports Dissident Russian Rockers to Israel

Thailand has deported members of a dissident Russian-Belarusian rock band critical of Moscow’s war in Ukraine to Israel after they were detained for performing without a permit.

Members of Bi-2 left “safely” for Tel Aviv on Wednesday night, they said on their Facebook page. Human rights advocates had warned the group would face severe persecution for speaking out against Russia’s war in Ukraine if they were sent back to Russia.

Thai authorities had detained the members of Bi-2 for working at the resort island of Phuket without a permit.

The fate of the band provoked an international outcry, leading Thai immigration officials to give the band the choice of being deported to another destination if they felt unsafe to return to Russia. Thailand’s National Security Council, chaired by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, took charge of the case on Wednesday.

Several members of the self-exiled group, which had been based in Israel in the 1990s, have dual nationalities, including Israeli and Australian.

Deputy Police Chief Surachate Hakparn confirmed the band had requested to be deported to Israel.

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Comfort Samuel

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