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Belarus Sprinter Refused to Board Flight Home From Tokyo

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya asked the IOC to intervene

(Newser) - A sprinter from Belarus asked police for help at the Tokyo airport, saying she was being forced to board a flight. Earlier, Krystsina Tsimanouskaya made an Instagram post criticizing her coaches’ decision to enter her in a race, the 4x400-meter relay, that she had not trained for. Then, she said,...

Europe Is In for a New Border Barrier

Lithuania also will send troops to stop illegal traffic from Belarus

(Newser) - As tension with neighboring Belarus escalates, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte announced Wednesday that a "physical barrier" will be constructed along their 421-mile border to stop illegal migration. Army troops also will be deployed to guard the border, the BBC reports. The actions should be taken as "a...

Ryanair: Pilot Was Told Plane Would Explode If He Didn't Land

Airline boss says Minsk air traffic control claimed there was 'credible threat'

(Newser) - The pilot of a Ryanair passenger jet had to land in Minsk last month after being told a bomb on the plane would explode if he didn't, the airline says. Once the plane landed, journalist Raman Pratasevich and his girlfriend, Sofia Sapega, were removed from the flight, arrested, and...

Opposition Objects to Journalist's Teary TV Appearance

Foes of Belarus government say confessional video was made under duress

(Newser) - Belarus aired an interview with detained journalist Raman Pratasevich on state TV on Thursday, a video that included tears and a confession to opposing the government. Regime opponents criticized the video as being made under duress, Reuters reports. "His parents believe he was tortured. This is not Raman I...

Belarus Activist Hospitalized After Stabbing Himself in Court

Stsiapan Latypau reportedly was told his family would be prosecuted unless he confessed

(Newser) - A Belarus activist has been hospitalized after stabbing himself in the neck with a pen during a court hearing in Minsk, a rights group said. Stsiapan Latypau underwent surgery and is in satisfactory condition, the BBC reports. He's charged with being behind opposition social media, which he denies. The...

Protests Spread as US Decides on Sanctions

White House says it's holding the Belarus government accountable after hijacking

(Newser) - Demonstrations around the world opposed the Belarus government on Saturday—sparked by the hijacking of an airliner last week—a day after the Biden administration said it's imposing economic sanctions. A White House spokeswoman said the US will restore sanctions next week against nine state-owned operations in Belarus that...

Russian Backs Belarus By Blocking European Flights
Russia Blocks European Flights

Russia Blocks European Flights

EU meeting to consider sanctions after Ryanair hijacking

(Newser) - Russia has expressed its support for Belarus by refusing to let at least two European airlines' flights land in Moscow. Austrian Airlines and Air France announced the cancellations, saying permission from Russia was denied, per CNN ; Russia had no comment. Both airlines wanted to change the routes to avoid crossing...

Day After Dissident's 'Confession,' GF Makes Her Own

Sofia Sapega and Roman Protasevich are being held in Belarus after their plane was forced down

(Newser) - The girlfriend of Belarusian dissident journalist Roman Protasevich has also been detained after their Ryanair plane was forced down Sunday by Belarus on its way to Lithuania from Athens. Per Sky News , 23-year-old Sofia Sapega, a Russian national, has now emerged in a "confessional" video , apparently filmed at a...

Anyone Who Flies Should Worry About What Belarus Did

State hijacking could become more common, unless the West cracks down

(Newser) - Another norm has been shattered that could—depending on how Western nations react—put political dissidents and travelers at greater risk. When Belarus forced an airliner down so it could seize a dissident on board, a basic standard was lost, Anne Applebaum writes in the Atlantic . Until now, pilots could...

Father of Seized Journalist Fears Torture

Belarus airs video clip of Raman Pratasevich

(Newser) - The journalist at the center of an international controversy surfaced in a video clip that aired on state TV channels in Belarus on Monday, reports AFP . Raman Pratasevich speaks quickly in the video that the BBC says "appears to have been recorded under duress." The 26-year-old was seized...

Belarus 'Hijacking' Poses a Big Test for Biden
On Diverted Jet, a Sense
of 'Panic' Among Passengers
the rundown

On Diverted Jet, a Sense of 'Panic' Among Passengers

Belarus' decision to force down a passenger plane is widely condemned

(Newser) - Ryanair calls it "state-sponsored piracy," per CNBC . The US secretary of state calls it "shocking," and the president of the EU Commission says it amounts to a "hijacking," reports the AP . Those were some of the reactions percolating Monday to the diversion of a...

Journalist Arrested After Plane Forced Down in Belarus

EU leaders speak out against the action, which was ordered by the country's authoritarian leader

(Newser) - Belarus forced down an airliner carrying a dissident who co-founded a media outlet popular with the political opposition, the New York Times reports. Roman Protasevich, the journalist and activist, was traveling from Athens to Vilnius, Lithuania, where he was living in exile. But the Ryanair flight with about 170 passengers...

Millions Watch Film Alleging Lukashenko Leads Luxe Life

Lukashenko Goldmine has notched more than 3M views since Monday

(Newser) - The man referred to as "Europe's last dictator" is also now the star of a film—though he's likely not too pleased about it. Lukashenko Goldmine is an 83-minute film by Poland-based opposition news service NEXTA that was dropped onto YouTube on Monday and has now been...

For Filming Protest, They Get 2 Years in Prison

2 journalists jailed in Belarus

(Newser) - Two journalists in Belarus were convicted Thursday of violating public order and sentenced to two years in prison after they covered a protest against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko , per the AP . Katsiaryna Bakhvalava, 27, and Daria Chultsova, 23, both of the Polish-funded Belsat TV channel, were arrested in November after...

Belarus Leader Sworn In During Secret Ceremony

Opposition calls it a 'thieves' meeting'

(Newser) - Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko's inauguration ceremony Wednesday was more like a surprise party than the usual grand occasion—and his countrymen were the ones getting the surprise. After more than a month of massive protests over August's disputed election, Lukashenko was sworn in for a sixth term Wednesday...

Hear the Calls for Change, Pope Urges
Hear the
Calls for
Pope Urges

Hear the Calls for Change, Pope Urges

Francis has sent the Vatican's foreign minister to Belarus

(Newser) - Pope Francis urged political leaders to listen to protesters and heed their calls for political and social change, an apparent reference to protests in Belarus against the country's authoritarian president. Francis didn't mention Belarus or any country in his appeal Sunday during his noontime prayer, but his comments...

Belarus Opposition Leader Rips Up Passport at Border

Authorities attempted to expel Maria Kolesnikova

(Newser) - Belarus opposition activist Maria Kolesnikova resisted an attempt to throw her out of the country Tuesday—a day after witnesses saw masked men force her into a vehicle in the capital, Minsk. Kolesnikova, a member of the opposition Coordination Council, was taken to the Ukraine border along with two other...

Masked Men Seize Belarus Opposition Leader

2 other council members are missing

(Newser) - A leading opposition activist in Belarus is missing—and witnesses say they saw masked men bundle her into a vehicle Monday morning. Maria Kolesnikova is one of three women who challenged President Alexander Lukashenko in last month's disputed election, the BBC reports. The other two, Veronika Tsepkalo and leading...

Regime Cracks Down Hard on Belarus Student Protests

Authorities are 'really scared of strikes starting in universities'

(Newser) - Authorities in Belarus detained scores of university students who took to the streets Tuesday to demand that authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko resign after an election the opposition has denounced as rigged . Hundreds of students gathered outside universities across the Belarusian capital, Minsk, and then marched across the city center to...

Putin to Belarus Ruler: Oh, and Happy Birthday

Lukashenko chats with Putin while 100K demonstrate

(Newser) - Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered Sunday in the capital of Belarus, beginning the fourth week of daily protests demanding the resignation of the country's authoritarian president on his birthday. The protest at the "hero city" monument honoring Minsk's suffering and resilience in World War II drew...

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