Belarus opposition figure arrested after flight diverted

“Not a single person who flies over Belarus can be sure of his safety.”Belarusian authorities said there were 123 passengers on the plane, which was expected to resume its trip to Vilnius later Sunday. Officials later said no explosives were found on board. Pratasevich is a co-founder of the Telegram messaging app’s Nexta channel, which Belarus last year declared as extremist after it was used to help organize major protests against Lukashenko.Pratasevich, who had fled the country for Poland, faces charges that could carry a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Last week, 11 staff members of the TUT.by news website were detained by police. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda also claimed the plane was forced to land in Minsk and said Lukashenko’s “regime is behind this.”The Belarusian Interior Ministry said Pratasevich was arrested at the airport. Western countries also expressed alarm.Belarus “showed again its contempt for international community and its citizens,” U.S. Flight-tracker sites indicate the plane was about six miles from the Lithuanian border when it changed course.Exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to begin an investigation.”It is absolutely obvious that this is an operation by the special services to hijack an aircraft in order to detain activist and blogger Raman Pratasevich,” she said in a statement. Belarus opposition figure arrested after flight diverted to capital

May 23, 2021 / 1:35 PM
/ AP

Music helps inspire protesters in Belarus

Music helps inspire protesters in Belarus

02:55

Kyiv, Ukraine — A prominent opponent of Belarus’ authoritarian president was arrested Sunday after the airliner in which he was traveling was diverted to the country after a bomb threat, in what the opposition is calling a hijacking operation by the government. First published on May 23, 2021 / 1:35 PM The presidential press service said President Alexander Lukashenko personally ordered that a MiG-29 fighter jet accompany the Ryanair plane — carrying opposition figure Raman Pratasevich and traveling from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius, Lithuania — to the airport in the capital Minsk.Deputy air force commander Andrei Gurtsevich said the plane’s crew made the decision to land in Minsk, but Ryanair said in a statement that Belarusian air traffic control instructed the plane to divert to the capital. still can’t visit home

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The presidential press service said the bomb threat was received while the plane was over Belarusian territory. Ambassador Julie Fisher said, calling the event “dangerous and abhorrent.”European Council President Charles Michel echoed Tsikhanouskaya’s call for the ICAO to investigate.Months of protests arose after last August’s presidential election that official results say gave Lukashenko a sixth term in office.Police cracked down on the protests harshly, detaining around 30,000 people and beating many of them.Although protests died down during the winter, Belarus has continued to take actions against the opposition and independent news media. Trending News

Belarus opposition figure arrested after flight diverted

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Belarus opposition figure arrested after flight diverted

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Belarus opposition figure arrested after flight diverted

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The presidential press service said the bomb threat was received while the plane was over Belarusian territory. First published on May 23, 2021 / 1:35 PM The presidential press service said President Alexander Lukashenko personally ordered that a MiG-29 fighter jet accompany the Ryanair plane — carrying opposition figure Raman Pratasevich and traveling from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius, Lithuania — to the airport in the capital Minsk.Deputy air force commander Andrei Gurtsevich said the plane’s crew made the decision to land in Minsk, but Ryanair said in a statement that Belarusian air traffic control instructed the plane to divert to the capital. Belarus opposition figure arrested after flight diverted to capital

May 23, 2021 / 1:35 PM
/ AP

Music helps inspire protesters in Belarus

Music helps inspire protesters in Belarus

02:55

Kyiv, Ukraine — A prominent opponent of Belarus’ authoritarian president was arrested Sunday after the airliner in which he was traveling was diverted to the country after a bomb threat, in what the opposition is calling a hijacking operation by the government. Last week, 11 staff members of the TUT.by news website were detained by police. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda also claimed the plane was forced to land in Minsk and said Lukashenko’s “regime is behind this.”The Belarusian Interior Ministry said Pratasevich was arrested at the airport. Officials later said no explosives were found on board. “Not a single person who flies over Belarus can be sure of his safety.”Belarusian authorities said there were 123 passengers on the plane, which was expected to resume its trip to Vilnius later Sunday. Western countries also expressed alarm.Belarus “showed again its contempt for international community and its citizens,” U.S. Pratasevich is a co-founder of the Telegram messaging app’s Nexta channel, which Belarus last year declared as extremist after it was used to help organize major protests against Lukashenko.Pratasevich, who had fled the country for Poland, faces charges that could carry a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Flight-tracker sites indicate the plane was about six miles from the Lithuanian border when it changed course.Exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to begin an investigation.”It is absolutely obvious that this is an operation by the special services to hijack an aircraft in order to detain activist and blogger Raman Pratasevich,” she said in a statement. Ambassador Julie Fisher said, calling the event “dangerous and abhorrent.”European Council President Charles Michel echoed Tsikhanouskaya’s call for the ICAO to investigate.Months of protests arose after last August’s presidential election that official results say gave Lukashenko a sixth term in office.Police cracked down on the protests harshly, detaining around 30,000 people and beating many of them.Although protests died down during the winter, Belarus has continued to take actions against the opposition and independent news media.