Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)
‘CONDUCTED UNDER DURESS’: BELARUS TV AIRS JAILED ACTIVIST’S INTERVIEW
WARSAW: Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and European powers on Friday dismissed an interview shown on state TV in Belarus with a journalist arrested after his plane was forced to land in Minsk.
Germany also slammed the interview with Roman Protasevich as a “disgrace”, while UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the 26-year-old was “clearly under duress”.
“We should not believe any of the words of these people, including Roman Protasevich,” said Tikhanovskaya, who unsuccessfully ran against Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko in an election last year.
Protasevich was arrested on May 23 along with his girlfriend Sofia Sapega when their Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius was diverted, intercepted by a Belarusian fighter jet and made to land.
The televised interview with Protasevich, the co-founder and former editor of opposition Telegram channel Nexta that galvanised anti-government demonstrations, was broadcast on Thursday.
Looking uncomfortable in the video, Protasevich said he had called for protests last year and praised Lukashenko. His supporters said he appeared to have marks on his wrists.
At the end of the 1.5-hour interview broadcast by Belarus state-run channel ONT on Thursday evening, Protasevich began crying and covered his face with his hands.