Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)


- Agence France-presse

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.

 ?? REUTERS ?? Roman Protasevic­h appears on Belarus state TV.
REUTERS Roman Protasevic­h appears on Belarus state TV.

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