Written by Prakriti Panwar, a grade 12 student
Raman Pratasevich is a Belarusian blogger and journalist who also claims to be the “first journalist-terrorist in history.” He was recently arrested under several charges after his flight was forcefully landed in Minsk instead of Lithuania.
Pratasevich was arrested on 23rd May after his flight (which was supposed to land in Lithuania) was ordered to land in Minsk. This was orchestrated by Alexander Lukashenko, a Belarusian politician, who believed that there was a potential bomb threat by Hamas (an Islamic Resistance Movement), which later denied any association with the event.
However, it was later found out that there was no bomb and after almost seven hours of halt, the plane flew with its other passengers, back on course.
Pratasevich was arrested and pressed under the charges of “Organisation of mass disorders,” “Organization or active participation in group actions that severely violate public order” and “Incitement of racial, ethnic, religious or other social hatred or enmity.”
What happened after
On June 3rd, the state released a video of Pratasevich “confessing.” This was visibly forceful. There were also clear wounds that could be spotted and some even called it a “televised coercion.”
Marie Struthers, an official of Amnesty International said, Yesterday’s degrading and humiliating ‘interview’, showing Raman Pratasevich to be under intolerable psychological pressure, amounts to ill-treatment and those behind this travesty must be held accountable. Raman Pratasevich has been deprived of his liberty and is facing a lengthy prison term solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression”
The redirecting and forceful landing of the flight is now being called a “state kidnapping/ hijacking.” US President Joe Biden called it “a direct affront to international norms” and the EU even demanded a flight ban over Belarusian airspace.
More about Raman Pratasevich
Pratasevich is the co-founder of and editor in chief of Nexta- a Telegram channel that earned a great amount of trust for reliable information, given the background of Belarus’s authoritarian government.
Born in 1995, Pratasevich was first arrested at the age of 16 for “watching a flash mob slow clap to show opposition to the government.” He also ran a social media group called “we are sick of Alexander Lukashenko” and has been demonstrating against the government for quite a while now. He was expelled from his academy, and journalism school, after which he fled to Poland and founded Nexta.
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