In a shocking incident which occurred yesterday, the blogger Roman Protasevich was arrested on a flight from Athens in Greece to Vilinus. The flight had no relation to Belarus where the dictator rules but was only flying over its airspace with legal rights.
The journalist is only 26 years old and is working in a Polish online news service NEXTA. As NEXTA opposes Alexander Lukashenko and is critical of his policies, he has declared the media as an “extremist organization”. He left Belarus a few years ago and is now charged with terrorism by the dictator. The dictator likes to spread a sense of fear of him even outside Belarus but he himself seems to be rather scared of journalists like Roman.
Within a few minutes of entering the Belarussian airspace, the plane was forcefully diverted by the airport authorities in Belarus to land at Minsk. Using military jets the country was able to force the Ryanair pilots to land at their designated destination. Along with him his girlfriend of 23 has also been arrested. She hails from Russia which is an ally of Belarus but it is unlikeable that Russia might provide any support to her.
The news media NEXTA was able to use means of getting through the tight bans in Belarus on Internet. And after the elections this channel was greatly responsible for the eruption of anti-Lukashenko protests in Belarus. The dictator has been in power of 27 years and runs a Soviet like, anti-humanist regime.
Bald and Bankrupt
The famous YouTube vlogger on his trip to Belarus depicted the leader and his working in a negative light. This led to the government asking him — forcing him — to make a few videos depicting Belarus and Lukashenko in a positive light. The YouTuber didn’t want to be disloyal to his followers and wanted to honestly show the actual picture of people living in Belarus. He believes he might be blacklisted and has settled on to never going to Belarus again.
The European Union has imposed sanctions on Belarus following the lead of Britain. They asked USA to support the sanctions to which America called for investigation into the matter while condemning the actions of Lukashenko.
In a half minute clip released by Belarussian authorities the journalist claims he is in good health and is being treated properly but the confession seems to be held at gunpoint. The fate of Roman is extremely uncertain but this will further deteriorate the foreign relations of Belarus. The most important point here is how strongly are the world’s leaders willing to stand against such atrocities by a dictator that goes to the extent of kidnapping a journalist from mid-air. The authorities need to do more than talks and puny sanctions.
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