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Belarus. Irina Wikholm sentenced to prison for defamation of Alyaksandr Lukashenka. She repeated the BBC comment about the “act of piracy”

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Irina Wikholm, 58, a Russian citizen, was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison for “defamation” of the President of Belarus, Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Wikholm published on the Internet a reprint of a BBC article in which the forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk was called “an act of air piracy” and labeled its entry with the words “another crime of Lukashenka”.

Irina Wikholm, 58, has been living in Brest for 10 years. She posted an entry on Twitter on May 23, on the day the plane flying from Athens to Vilnius returned.


The Russian woman was arrested five days later and placed under arrest. After three months, the Belarusian prosecutor’s office announced that a criminal case for “public defamation” of Alyaksandr Lukashenka by “a citizen of another country” was brought to court.

Forced landing

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On May 23 at the airport in Minsk it happened the forced landing of a Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius. Then the opposition blogger who flew it, Raman Pratasiewicz, former editor of the Next channel on Telegram, was arrested.

In Belarus, criminal law for public insulting the president is punishable by up to four (up to five) years in prison, and up to five years for public defamation (up to six for repeated defamation). Criminal liability for insulting representatives of authorities and judges is also provided for.

Belarus has grounded a Ryanair planeAdam Ziemienowicz / PAP

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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