Roman Protasevich was on a plane from Greece to Lithuania on Sunday. The plane suddenly diverted to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where he was arrested.
This news resulted in International condemnation Some European leaders called the move a “hijacking” because the group was set on Monday to discuss strengthening existing sanctions against Belarus, which was a measure taken by President Alexander Lukashenko to suppress opposition protesters last year.
The President of Belarus was appointed for the sixth term in the disputed elections in August last year, and opposition sources said it was manipulative.
This country is shocked Mass anti-government demonstrations Human rights groups say this has led to the detention of thousands of people, dozens of whom have been sentenced to prison.
Who is the Roman Protasevich?
The 26-year-old co-founded and edited Polish online news service Nexta, which broadcasted videos of large-scale protests through the Telegram Messenger app.
Nexta Live and its sister channel Nexta had nearly 2 million subscribers on Telegram last year and played a key role in guiding and coordinating protesters. Internet access was often blocked last year and independent media were severely restricted.
Protasevich, who was worried about his arrest, fled to Poland in 2019.
According to reports, he sought asylum in January 2020.
Later, he moved to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, where the Belarusian opposition believed that the political leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was the real winner of the controversial election. Seek asylum.
In November 2020, Belarus launched an investigation against Protasevich and Nexta co-founder Stsiapan Putsila, accusing them of disrupting social order and inciting social hatred.
These charges were sentenced to more than 12 years in prison.
Protasevich was accused of “terrorist” activities, while the Nexta Telegram channel and its logo were labeled “extremist” and blocked by the Belarusian authorities.
Terrorist crimes can be punishable by the death penalty in Belarus, and the death penalty is still legal.
I am an officially recognized terrorist
Yes, this is not a joke. The KGB of Belarus included me on the list of terrorists. Now, my name is on the same list as the ISIS guy. pic.twitter.com/k74wdaT1lR
-Roman Protasevich (@pr0tez) November 19, 2020
Translation: I was officially admitted as a terrorist. Yes, this is not a joke. The KGB of Belarus included me on the list of terrorists. Now, my name is on the same list as the ISIS guy.
Since March of this year, Protasevich has been working on Belamova, another Telegram channel.
A young activist
Lukashenko is a former collective farm manager who has ruled Belarus with an iron fist since the year before Protasevich was born (1994).
Protasevich has been a digital activist since he was a teenager.
He has been arrested on multiple occasions, including in 2012 (only 17 years old), because he operated two anti-Lukashenko organizations on the Russian social networking site Vkontakte.
One group was called “We hate Lukashenko”.
Protasevich, who was a student at the time, said at the time: “They hit my kidneys and liver.” “Three days later, I urinate for the blood. They threatened to charge me with an unsolved murder.”
He said that during the interrogation process, the Belarusian security service personnel still named him the Soviet KGB and requested the password to be provided to online groups.
He later worked as a Belarusian media photographer and received the Vaclav Havel journalism research scholarship in 2017-2018, which was named after an aspiring independent journalist who was deceased The Czech dissidents were named after their transformation into the president.
According to the international radio station Euroradio, Protasevich was expelled shortly after enrolling in the journalism department of the Belarusian State University (Misk), where he worked from September 2018 to November 2019.