Jailed Belarusian journalist paraded on state TV in confessional 'interview'

Jailed Belarusian journalist paraded on state TV in confessional ‘interview’

Dmitry Protasevich, the man’s father, said the video makes for a painful watch for him and clearly shows that it was filmed under duress.

“Knowing my son and what Roman is saying here – this is not him saying that,” he said on Russian TV channel Dozhd.

“It’s clearly very difficult for him to speak but I’m sure he has been coerced to talk, I’m sure he’s been intimidated.”

The man’s father also said he suspected that the Lukashenko regime could be using Roman’s girlfriend to force a confession out of him.

Sofya Sapega has been kept at the KGB ja-il without any charges.

Mr Protasevich last week appeared in a short clip, “confessing” to having organised riots and insisting he was well treated. His family said they could see signs of beatings and torture including a broken nose.

Franak Viacorka, an adviser to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the exiled opposition leader, said on Thursday it pained him to watch the video:

“This is not the Roman I know. This man on Goebbels’ TV is a hostage of the regime.”

Hundreds of people were tortured in custody by the Lukashenko regime in the aftermath of election protests.

The massive anti-government protests have since died off, ushering in a wave of repressions unseen in Belarus’ modern history. Over 2,300 Belarusians have faced charges over their activism since last summer, and nearly 500 are now listed as political prisoners, according to the human rights group Viasna.

The forced landing of the Ryanair plane sparked a major row between Belarus and the West which threatened a new round of sanctions against Mr Lukashenko’s government which sought to portray it as a mere incident caused by a bo-mb threat.

The European Union has banned Belarusian national carrier Belavia from its airspace, and most European airlines have scrapped flights to Minsk and started bypassing Belarus.

EU diplomats are expected to ban Belavia from flying over European airspace later on Friday, Bloomberg reported.


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