Outrage After Belarus Arrests 26-Year-Old Journalist By Forcing Ryanair Plane To Land

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Outrage After Belarus Arrests Journalist By Forcing Ryanair Plane To Land

There has been widespread condemnation after a flight from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius, Lithuania, was redirected and forced to land in Belarus. An opposition journalist, Roman Protasevich, who is 26-years-old, was then arrested.


The journalist has been in exile after being pursued by Belarussian authorities.


The flight was intercepted while flying over Belarus by fighter jest who demanded that the flight be grounded. Once landed, Belarussian police entered the flight and made the arrest. The journalist stated to fellow passengers that he was going to be executed.


Protasevich is the former editor of Nexta, an online magazine highly critical of Belarus dictator Lukashenko.


Belarus is the only country in Europe that still has the death penalty.


The arrest has drawn sharp criticism from across Europe, and the European Union itself.


Belarus media said that the flight had been landed due to a bomb threat.


Ryanair released a statement in which they failed to mention the journalist being arrested. They said:


"Ryanair has notified the relevant national and European safety and security agencies and we apologise sincerely to all affected passengers for this regrettable delay which was outside Ryanair's control."


Among those to criticise the arrest was Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis who said:


"The forced landing of a commercial plane to detain a journalist is an unprecedented and shocking act. We demand all passengers' immediate release. Tomorrow's EUCO must address the need to step up pressure on Belarus. Enough is enough."


The Lithuanian President also added his condemnation saying:


"Unprecedented event! A civilian passenger plane flying to Vilnius was forcibly landed in Minsk. Belarussian political activist and founder of Nexta was on the plane. He is arrested. Belarus regime is behind the abhorrent action. I demand to free Roman Protasevich urgently."


Belarus is regarded as Europe's last dictatorship. Following elections in late 2020, which are widely regarded as being rigged and unfair, thousands of pro-democracy protestors have been beaten and arrested, and the leaders of the opposition have been thrown into exile.


The elections also resulted in huge street demonstrations.


[h/t: Reuters]


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Thinking Humanity: Outrage After Belarus Arrests 26-Year-Old Journalist By Forcing Ryanair Plane To Land
Outrage After Belarus Arrests 26-Year-Old Journalist By Forcing Ryanair Plane To Land
There has been widespread condemnation after a flight from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius, Lithuania, was redirected and forced to land in Belarus. An opp
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