A Valparaiso man living and teaching courses in Belarus claims he has been expelled from the country, according to an e-mail he sent Friday.
Forty-year-old Terry Boesch, an independent candidate for governor in 2000, has been in Belarus for two years, teaching courses in English, business and business law at Belarus State University. He's in the country with his two daughters, ages 10 and 13.
Boesch said in a news release that he was given two hours' notice to leave the country, but he was working with the American embassy in Minsk -- the capital of Belarus -- to extend the deadline for his departure until Monday.
The release stated that Boesch would seek exile in Lithuania.
Keith Kirkpatrick, executive director of Indiana University Northwest's Institute of Innovative Leadership, said he received an e-mail from Boesch on Friday, where he writes that "the noose has been tightening around my neck day by day."
Kirkpatrick visited Boesch in Belarus last May and taught classes. He said Boesch's commitment to Belarusian people impressed him.
"When Terry invited me over, he just talked about how wonderful of an opportunity it was and how hungry the students were to learn about leadership, business and other opportunities," Kirkpatrick said.
However, the political climate in the country isn't receptive to new ideas, Kirkpatrick said.
"Belarus is still under very tight control by (President Alexander) Lukashenko and his administration," he said. "Terry has been trying to help people learn about some of the Western ways like free market economy. He talked a lot about civic responsibility and community engagement -- concepts we cherish in more open societies.
"Those concepts are not valued in Belarus by the government."
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The small country is just east of Poland.
Formerly a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, Belarus gained its independence in 1991. However, according to the CIA's "The World Factbook" Web site, "It has retained closer political and economic ties to Russia than any of the other former Soviet republics."
The site describes the Belarusian government as a dictatorship.
Boesch, who has four college degrees and has taught American law at home and abroad, has had problems in Indiana as well.
In October, 2004, the Indiana Supreme Court suspended Boesch, a prominent trial lawyer, for at least six months for unprofessional conduct that included Boesch abandoning a client, refusing to surrender documents to a former client, false advertising and other ethical violations.
Boesch said in his release being in Belarus was a dream come true.
In addition to teaching, he said he has donated more than 40,000 books and textbooks from America to institutions in Belarus, helped in a Chernobyl project, donated work for the United Nations office in Minsk and helped with the translation of a Belarusian language project for the National Library.
Kirkpatrick said he thought Boesch was careful about saying things that would jeopardize himself or his family.
"I never heard Terry say anything radical," Kirkpatrick said. "He's tried very hard to work within that system."