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10-year sentence requested for journalist pressured down in Belarus

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Prosecutors have requested a 10-year jail sentence for a dissident Belarusian journalist who was arrested after a warplane pressured down a business airliner he was taking to Lithuania


TALLINN, Estonia — Prosecutors requested a 10-year jail sentence Friday for a dissident Belarusian journalist who was arrested after a warplane pressured down a business airliner he was taking to Lithuania.

Raman Pratasevich is on trial in Belarus on prices of organizing unrest and plotting to grab energy. Pratasevich ran a Telegram messaging app channel that was broadly utilized by individuals in mass protests in opposition to the disputed August 2020 election that gave authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko a sixth time period in workplace.

The protests, which lasted for months, have been longest and largest demonstration of opposition to Lukashenko since he took energy in 1994. Belarusian authorities responded to the demonstrations with a brutal crackdown that noticed greater than 35,000 folks arrested, 1000’s overwhelmed by police and dozens of media shops and nongovernmental organizations shut.

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Pratasevich lived in exile on the time, however he and his girlfriend have been arrested in Might 2021 when their Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania was ordered to land within the capital of Belarus, Minsk. Belarusian authorities stated there was a bomb risk however later stated no explosives have been discovered on board.

Western international locations condemned the flight diversion as tantamount to hijacking and imposed robust sanctions in opposition to Lukashenko and Belarus.

Pratasevich subsequently made a number of confessional appearances on state tv that critics claimed have been performed underneath duress. He was later launched from custody and put underneath home arrest.

His girlfriend, a Russian citizen, was sentenced to 6 years in jail in Might 2022.

Pratasevich appeared wholesome at his trial on Friday. Two founders of the Telegram channel Nexta are additionally being tried in absentia.

Individually, the Belarusian human rights group Viasna reported Friday {that a} court docket had rejected the attraction of the group’s founder, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ales Bialiatski, who was sentenced in March to 10 years in jail on a conviction of financing teams that promoted public dysfunction.

Viasna says practically 1,500 folks have been put behind bars in Belarus in reference to opposition actions.

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