EU agrees new Belarus sanctions after plane arrest

EU agrees new Belarus sanctions after plane arrest
The video of Roman Protasevich emerged late on Monday. Source: NEXTA
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: The European Union (EU) has decided to ban Belarusian airlines from European skies after a flight was diverted to Minsk, capital of Belarus, on Sunday to arrest a dissident journalist.

At a meeting in Brussels, the EU leaders also told EU airlines not to fly over Belarus and promised further economic sanctions.

Roman Protasevich was on a flight from Greece to Lithuania and when his flight was on Belarusian airspace, it was rerouted over a supposed bomb threat.

Western countries accused the European country of “hijacking” the Ryanair plane.

A video has now emerged of Mr Protasevich, 26, that appears to have been recorded under duress since his detention at Minsk airport.

In the clip, the journalist said he was in good health and seemingly confessed to crimes he had been charged with by the Belarusian state. The video clip was released late on Monday.

But activists, including the main opposition leader of Belarus, criticised the video and suggested Mr Protasevich was under pressure to admit wrongdoing.

President Joe Biden of the US described the actions of the Belarusian authorities as “outrageous”, saying they were “shameful assaults on both political dissent and the freedom of the press”.

Mr Protasevich’s father has told in an interview with BBC that he fears his son may be tortured.

On Monday, Dmitri Protasevich said he was “really afraid” of how his son would be treated by the authorities in his home country.

You may read: Belarus ‘diverts Ryanair flight to arrest journalist’, opposition says